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94th Congress "1
2d Session J
OCEAN MANGANESE NODULES
Prepared by the
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
At the Request of
Hestky M. Jackson, Chairman
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND
UNITED STATES SENATE
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
*** * ** ** ,
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1976
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
HENRY M. JACKSON, Washington, Chairman
FRANK CHURCH, Idaho PAUL J. FANNIN, Arizona
LEE METCALF, Montana CLIFFORD P. HANSEN, Wyoming
J. BENNETT JOHNSTON, Louisiana MARK O. HATFIELD, Oregon
JAMES ABOUREZK, South Dakota JAMES A. McCLURE, Idaho
FLOYD K. HASKELL, Colorado DEWEY F. BARTLETT, Oklahoma
JOHN GLENN, Ohio
RICHARD STONE, Florida
DALE BUMPERS, Arkansas
Grbnville Garside, Special Counsel and Staff Director
Daniel A. Dreyfus, Deputy Staff Director for Legislation
William J. Van Ness, Chief Counsel
D. Michael Harvey, Deputy Chief Counsel
Merrill W. Englund, Special Committee Assistant for Outer Continental Shelf
Harrison Loesch, Minority Counsel
MEMORANDUM OF THE CHAIRMAN
To Members of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee:
The question of who owns, or is responsible for, the two-thirds of
the earth, which lies under the oceans, has concerned me since 1969
when I appointed Senator Lee Metcalf to head a Special Subcom-
mittee on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Since then, the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs has held
hearings on the general subject and on specific legislation. We also
have monitored the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of
the Sea and its preparatory meetings. As Chairman of the Subcom-
mittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Senator Metcalf has con-
tinued to provide constructive leadership.
We share a sense of urgency about a source of minerals from the
oceans — minerals basic to our economy — minerals which now come
almost exclusively from foreign sources — minerals which we can dis-
cover and have a right to develop under existing international law and
with due regard to the other uses of the oceans.
There is increasing pressure by many nations for stringent limita-
tions on access to raw materials lying within their borders and in-
creased prices for those raw materials which are made available to
industrial nations. These nations call these policies steps to a "new
economic order." We call them cartels.
Some of these minerals are contained in the manganese nodules
which literally pave the ocean floor in many parts of the world. With
increased public awareness of the importance of the nodules as our
mineral supply came also a need for what I would call a primer. In
1975, I asked the Congressional Research Service of the Library of
Congress for such a document. The Committee print of that report
was widely circulated and is now out of print.
The second edition of that report, updated by the Congressional
Research Service, follows. I commend it to the attention of those
interested in this vital and complex subject.
Henry M. Jackson, Chairman.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
The Library or Congress,
CoXGRESSIOXAL RESEARCH SERVICE,
Washington, B.C., January 20, 1976.
Hon. Lee Metcalf,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Commit-
tee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, Washington, B.C.
Dear Sexator Metcalf : In response to your request, I am submit-
ting an updated version of the primer on manganese nodules pub-
lished in June 1975.
This report, titled "Ocean Manganese Xodules, Second Edition,"
reflects recent events and the issues brought out in the October and
November hearings of your committee and ties them into the past
record. The primer is intended to serve as a background report on
deep seabed mining covering such topics as location of manganese
nodule deposits, site evaluation, technology of mining nodules, eco-
nomic implications, commercial interests, government activities, for-
eign activities and legislative history. As the outcome of the Third
U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea is not yet clear and several
hurdles with regard to deep seabed mining remain to be cleared, possi-
ble treaty implications to the United States are also considered.
This report was prepared by Dr. James E. Mielke, Analyst in
Marine and Earth Sciences of the Science Policy Eesearch Division.
We hope this report serves your committee's needs as well as those
of other Members of the House and Senate in the consideration of in-
terim domestic legislation to encourage and regulate deep seabed min-
ing until an acceptable Law of the Sea treaty is attained.
Norman Beckmax, Acting Director.
OCEAN MANGANESE NODULES
James E. Mielke
Science Policy Research Division
Congressional Research Service
Library of Congress
at the Request of
Henry M. Jackson, Chairman
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
United States Senate
Memorandum of the Chairman in
Letter of transmittal v
I. Introduction 1
II. Composition, formation, and distribution of manganese nodules 3
Surface texture 4
Elemental composition 5
Formation of manganese nodules 6
Biological origins 6
Inorganic origins . 7
Geographical distribution 7
North Pacific Ocean 11
South Pacific Ocean 12
North Atlantic Ocean 12
South Atlantic Ocean 12
Indian Ocean 12
III. Mining : Site selection, technology and processing 13
Mine site selection 13
Nodule mining technology 15
Air-lift pumping 15
Hydraulic lift 18
Mechanical lift 18
Nodule processing technology 20
Sulfur dioxide roasting and water leaching 22
Ammoniacal leaching 23
Sulfuric acid leaching 24
IV. Environmental concerns 27
Previous research 27
Specific effects 27
Surface water contamination 28
Pollution from shipboard processing 29
Common effects 29
Findings and further investigations 29
Impacts of alternative sources 30
V. Mining interests and economics 31
U.S. mining interests 31
The Howard Hughes enigma 32
International consortia 35
Foreign interests 37
Problems in determining the economic impact of nodule
Establishing: an international authority 38
Size of operation 38
Metal production per ton of nodules 39
Timing of nodule operations 40
Economic impact of nodule mining 41
Loag-term economic prospects of nodule mining 55
VI. Government activities
Foreign government activities
Federal Republic of Germany
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
VII. Legislative history
Confronting the issues
Legislative concern in the 90th Congress
Legislative concern in the 91st Congress
Legislative concern in the 92d Congress
Legislative concern in the 93d Congress
The first session
The second session
Legislative concern in the 94th Congress
VIII. International considerations
Possible cartel action
United Nations activities and relations
First and second Law of the Sea Conferences.
U.N. relations and the third Law of the Sea Conference.
Possible treaty implications 101
A. Letter from Charles N. Brower of the State Department to Senator
Henry M. Jackson 105
B. Letter from Representative Thomas N. Downing and Senator Lee
Metcalf to Secretary of Commerce Frederick B. Dent 111
C. Letter from Secretary Frederick B. Dent to Senate Lee Metcalf 115
D. S. 713 119
E. Deepsea Ventures, Inc. : Notice of discovery and claim of exclusive
mining rights, and request for diplomatic protection and protection of
F. U.S. Department of State: Statement on claim of exclusive mining
rights by Deepsea Ventures, Inc 161
LIST OF FIGURES
1. Nodules recovered during trial mining operations in the Atlantic
Ocean in 1970 4
2. Nodule frequency versus depth in sediment 9
3. Nodule deposits in the North Pacific 10
4. Nodule deposits in the South Pacific 10
5. Nodule deposits in the North Atlantic 11
6. Nodule deposits in the South Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans 11
7. Offshore exploration of nodules 14
8. Three systems proposed for mining nodules 16
9. Research Vessel Deepsea Miner 17
10. Continuous Line Bucket System for deep ocean nodule mining—. 19
11. Hydrochloric acid process 22
12. Ammonia leach process 23
13. Sulfuric acid process 24
14. Figure from patent issued to Global Marine, Inc 34
15. U.S. demand for minerals supplied by imports in 1974 50
LIST OF TABLES
1. Projected U.S. consumption and percent of imports satisfied by nodule Page
mining operations by 1985 and 2000 — xvi
2. Element analyses of Pacific manganese nodules 5
3. Average analyses of manganese nodules 12
4. Comparison of 3 and 4 metal production from nodules 21
5. Estimated metal production per million tons of high grade nodules 39
6. Estimated 1985 recovery of metals by U.S. deep-ocean mining enter-
prises, and value at 1973 prices 40
7. Manganese nodules : commercially attractive constituents projections
for future demand 42
8. Projected market value of U.S. production of metals from manganese
nodules in 1985 and 2000 43
9. Probable metals production from nodules and estimated net import re-
quirements of industrial countries in 1985 44
10. Approximate 1971 value of mineral production 45
11. Approximate value of mineral production, Group of 77 versus other
12. Participation in nodule mining consortia by U.S. firms and estimated
nodule recovery by 1985 46
13. Projected U.S. consumption and percent of imports satisfied by nodule
mining operations in 1985 and 2000 47
14. Nickel : World mine production and reserves 49
15. Copper: World mine production and reserves 51
16. Manganese: Stockpile status November 30, 1975 52
17. Manganese: World mine production and reserves 53
18. Cobalt: World mine production and reserves 54
19. Reserves of metals in manganese nodules of the Pacific Ocean 56
20. Changing import requirements of the United States 79
21. Functions of the Ocean Mining Administration 85
Ferromanganese nodules x are potato-shaped concretions found on
the floor of the ocean throughout many parts of the world. In some
areas, the ocean floor is literally paved with nodules. The Pacific Ocean
alone is estimated to contain 1.5 trillion tons of nodules which are
forming at the rate of about 10 million tons per year. There are about
25 factors involved in the process to determine the economic value of
a potentially mineable deposit of manganese nodules. Of these factors,
the grade of the nodules, particularly their copper, nickel, manganese,
and cobalt content, is the most important. The deposits of the Pacific
Ocean, found in an east-west belt 200 kilometers wide south of Hawaii,
in water deeper than 4,000 meters, hold the greatest economic promise
at the present time.
Technology for mining and processing ferromanganese nodules is
complex, and several methods are being developed. Three basic nodule
recovery systems are under investigation : (1) mechanical, cable-bucket
systems, (2) air-lift pumping, and (3) hydraulic lift without air.
Processing ferromanganese nodules is much more difficult than proc-
essing oxide or sulfide land ores. Most of the methods being developed
involve complex roasting and leaching techniques.
The impact of nodule mining on the deep ocean environment has been
a concern expressed by many individuals. Research is underway to
assess the extent of this impact on the biota of the deep ocean and on
the quality of the surface water. Chemical and biological observations
have been carried out using prototype mining systems. Results to date
indicate that the environmental impact of deep ocean mining is negli-
gible, far less than natural disturbances such as turbidity currents.
Exploration for, and development of technology for recovering,
manganese nodules from the deep seabed have been underway for more
than a decade. Several countries including the United States, Great
Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, Canada, and the Soviet Union
have interests in deepsea mining. U.S. firms have lead positions in this
field but are hesitant to proceed to commercial exploitation without
some guarantee of security for their projected large investments of $300
to $500 million for each mine site. Since 1971, bills have been intro-
duced in Congress to provide some form of investment guarantee and
regulation of mining activities. Initially, these bills represented solely
the views of the American Mining Congress and were sponsored in the
House and Senate for discussion purposes. Xo action was recommended
by the Administration for fear of prejudicing the outcome of discus-
sions in the United Nations with regard to a future conference on the
Law of the Sea. As progress in the United Nations appeared minimal.
and U.S. congressional hearings brought out other considerations, the
deep seabed mining legislation was redrafted to provide necessary
regulation and investment security, while allowing the Third U.X. Law
1 The terms "ferromanganese nodules," "manganese nodules" and "Iron-manganese nod-
ules" are used Interchangeably.
of the Sea Conference adequate time to produce a seabed treaty before
commercial exploitation by U.S. nationals would be permitted.
In the meantime, most U.S. firms interested in seabed mining have
joined international consortia as a means of gaining investment secu-
rity, risk sharing, and pooling financial resources. They argue that in
the absence of international law restricting deep seabed exploitation,
they have the right to mine nodules in international waters. The De-
partment of State supports this view. Obviously, the more countries
or parties jointly engaged in such activities, the less likelihood there
would be of claim- jumping or other conflicts.
The United States is heavily dependent on the metals contained in
manganese nodules, primarily nickel, copper, manganese, and cobalt.
There is no domestic mine production of manganese and cobalt, and
domestic nickel production supplies less than 10 percent of our needs.
In addition, nickel and copper are not currently stockpiled by the
government. While the United States is a major copper producer, in
1974 nearly 20 percent of the copper consumed in the United States
was imported. The reliability of foreign sources and the possibility of
cartel action are subjects of grave concern. In this regard, the pos-
sibility that a vast resource of these metals could become available to
the United States through the operations of U.S. nationals while at the
same time respecting the rights of all nations to the "common heritage
of mankind" is a matter that bears serious legislative consideration.
The majority of nations represented at the Third U.N. Law of the
Sea Conference are from developing countries whose interests are
markedly dissimilar to those of the United States and other tech-
nologically advanced countries. This has been amply demonstrated in
the negotiations of the former Seabed Committee (now Committee I
of the Conference) by the position taken by the developing countries
and by their formation of a common negotiating bloc called the Group
of 77 (now 106 countries). This group, representing approximately
two thirds of the voting delegates, generally favors a form of strong
international control of seabed exploitation that is unacceptable to the
United States. The Seabed Authority envisioned by the Group of 77
would be effectively controlled by the developing countries (one coun-
try, one vote), and would exercise arbitrary power over seabed devel-
opment. This would be accomplished by permitting mining only by
the Authority or, initially, through contract arrangements under which
the Authority would maintain direct and complete control of all
The U.S. position at the Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference
favors a seabed mining authority that would permit quali-
fied countries and private entities on a nondiscriminatory basis to mine
areas of the seabed. The whole system for pranting rights would be
structured in the treatv to be economically efficient and to attract and
guarantee security of investment. Faced with the prospects of little
substantive progress toward attaining an acceptable treaty, the Admin-
istration has recently begun drafting legislation to regulate domestic
firms who engage in deep seabed mining. This legislation would also
delay commercial exploitation to allow the U.N. Law of the Sea Con-
ference additional time to reach an agreement. In further anticipation
of deep ocean mining by U.S. citizens, an Ocean Mining Administra-
tion has been established in the Department of the Interior and an
Office of Marine Minerals in the Department of Commerce. It is
anticipated that commercial mining of the deep seabed for manganese
nodules will probably begin by 1980, and that U.S. firms will be
Based on recent information regarding participation by U.S. firms
and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign interests in international consortia,
projections can be made of the benefit to the United States from nodule
mining operations by 1985 and 2000. The total annual tonnage of
nodules likely to be processed and marketed by U.S. interests by 1985
could range from 4.5 to 6 million tons. This projection assumes that
present difficulties regarding the entry of U.S. firms into commercial
operations are resolved within the next year. This estimated recovery
is based on only those firms which have announced plans for commer-
cial operations and does not include members of the CLB Group 2
which was formed for exploration and systems development only.
Using the estimated nodule recovery of 5 million tons and exten-
sions of U.S. Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in do-
mestic demand for the metals contained in nodules, the percent of
imports and percent of U.S. consumption satisfied by U.S. controlled
nodule mining operations by 1985 can be estimated (Table 1) . Imports
of manganese ore and ferromanganese would not likely be reduced by
nodule mining by more than a few percent (the amount of U.S. con-
sumption of high purity forms of manganese) unless manganese
from nodules can in the future be marketed at a price competitive with
high carbon ferromanganese. By 1985 the United States could satisfy
95 percent of the projected domestic demand for low and medium
carbon ferromanganese and silieomanganese, and reduce imports of
nickel approximately 24 percent, reduce copper imports 8.5 percent
and be essentially self sufficient in cobalt. By 2000 nickel imports could
be reduced by 31 percent (or further with substitution by cobalt) and
copper imports by 10.4 percent. These projections assume that the
present levels of imports to demand would otherwise be maintained
which may be somewhat questionable, especially in the case of copper
where the import ratio would likely increase. On the other hand, if
other U.S. firms enter into commercial scale nodule mining operations,
imports could be reduced still further.
Based on 1975 prices, the above projection of nodule mining could
supply the United States with approximately $0.8 billion per year in
metals by the year 2000. Nodule mining by other countries or foreign
shares in consortia could likely total three to five times this amount
per year by then.
3 In this study, CLB Group refers only to the consortium organized by Dr. John L. Mero
of Ocean Resources Inc. Many % members of this group are now participants In
the consortium recently formed by International Nickel Co. (INCO) which has announced
intentions to proceed to commercial operations if deemed feasible. Some confusion may arise
as the INCO consortium has also been referred to as the CLB Group (Oceanography Xcws-
letter, Apr. 21. 1975). •
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Manganese nodules were first discovered by the Challenger expedi-
tion (1873-76) and have engaged the interest of oceanographers ever
since. With the recent advent of technology capable of extracting min-
erals from the deep ocean floor, commercial interest is further height-
ened by growing world-wide demand for metals concentrated in man-
ganese nodules. Increasing dependence on foreign mineral suppliers
and the resulting balance of payments deficits are causing concern
in the United States. In view of the increasing accessibility to exploi-
tation of these unclaimed seabed riches and international concern for
the rights and claims of all nations to a share of the world's resources,
national policies and international conventions for regulating or con-
trolling the deep seabed resources are being developed. This back-
ground report on manganese nodules, the technology for recovering
them, mining interests currently involved, legislative concerns, and
international negotiations in this area has been prepared as a reference
tool for further congressional activity in directing a national policy
for deep seabed mining.
65-675 O - 76
II. COMPOSITION, FORMATION, AND DISTRIBUTION OF MANGANESE
Ferromanganese nodules are concretions that occur on the ocean floor
generally in water deeper than 2,000 meters. There are two dominant
types of ferromanganese deposits: (1) thick slabs or crusts which
frequently develop on submarine elevations where current activity
prevents normal sediment accumulation and provides a continuous
supply of metals, and (2) nodules which form at great depth around
nucleii of rock, plant, or animal remains. The encrustations do not
appear to be economically significant whereas some nodule deposits
are potentially profitable to mine. Nodules are the most common form
of seabed iron-manganese concretions.
Ferromanganese nodules vary widely in shape, composition, surface
texture, and internal structure. In individual localities the nodules
are generally similar, but significant variations commonly occur from
one locality to another. Variations may even be found over the dis-
tance of a few hundred yards. Knowledge of variations in the com-
position of the nodules is of importance to mining interests as most
processing techniques are tailored to a fairly specific and uniform
ore supply. Furthermore, some hydraulic mining techniques are de-
signed to recover nodules within only a limited size range.
Nodules look like little black potatoes ranging in size from 1 to 15
centimeters (cm) in diameter and average about 5 cm across. The gross
shape of large nodules appears to be controlled by asymmetric growth
rather than by the shape of the core or nucleus.
Figube 1. — Nodules on the conveyor belt after discharge from nodule/water
separator during trial mining operations in the Atlantic Ocean in 1970.
Courtesy : Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
Ferromanganese nodules exhibit several types of surface texture:
smooth with black lustrous patches, sandpaper-like or gritty, "goose
bumps" or numerous small welts, and knobby. 1 Generally two textures
such as smooth and gritty are found on the same nodule. Many nodules
have old fractures partly healed with additional manganese material
Variations in structure of the nodules are common; however, most
appear to be layered in the form of concentric rings around a small
nucleus. Each layer represents a compositional or mineralogical unit
ranging in thickness from rings visible with the naked eye down to
microscopic structures. The original surface of the layers was honey-
combed, but the pores were subsequently filled with clay and the
materials reorganized as the nodule grew by adding new layers. Some
nodules or portions of nodules are nearly non-crystalline and, con-
1 Raab, W. Physical and chemical features of Pacific deep sea manganese nodules and
their implications to the genesis of nodules. In Ferromanganese deposits on the ocean floor,
Horn, D. R., ed., IDOB National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972, p. 31-49.
sequently, give no X-ray pattern. X-ray patterns that are obtained
indicate crystalline sizes less than a few micrometers.
Due to the fine grain size of the iron and manganese oxides and
the manner in which the nodules are formed, the porosity is high and
the surface area is large. The high porosity allows the nodules to
take up appreciable quantities of seawater and its contained salts.
Due to their large active surface area, nodules have been reported
to be effective converters of unburned hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide
in automobile exhausts and efficient absorbers of sulfur from stack
There is no clear age pattern in the layers but nodule samples
exhibit thicker layers on the bottom side. Radiometric dating of the
nodules indicates very slow growth rates of 0.1 to 0.01 times the aver-
age sedimentation rate of one meter per million years in the deep
regions of the ocean where manganese nodules are most commonly
The composition of manganese nodules can be described in two ways :
the elemental composition and the mineralogy.
Chemical analyses of nodules from several locations in the Pacific
Ocean are averaged in Table 2.
TABLE 2.— PACIFIC MANGANESE NODULES-WEIGHT PERCENTAGES (DRY WEIGHT BASIS)- STATISTICS
ON 54 SAMPLES
Element Average Maximum Minimum
Note: In addition to the elements given above, cadmium, tin, arsenic, and bismuth are also found in manganese nodules.
Source: Cardwell, P. H. Extractive metallurgy of ocean nodules. Mining Congress Journal, November 1973, p. 38.
3 Mero, J. L. Effects of mining sea floor nodules may be drastic for industry, society.
The Northern Miner, Apr. 20, 1972, pp. 4-5.
Nodules commonly contain more than 30 elements. In addition to the
elements included in Table 2, there are also appreciable amounts of
cadmium, tin, arsenic, and bismuth.
Petrographic examination of thin sections of nodules reveals ex-
tremely fine-grained manganese and iron oxides. The two maior man-
ganese minerals that have been identified are todorokite and birnessite.
Todorokite is variable in its chemical composition and can contain sig-*
nificant amounts of other elements, while birnessite is more highly
oxidized and is most abundant in more oxidizing environments such
as shallower water areas.
The only iron mineral which has been recognized in ferromanga-
nese nodules is goethite, FeOOH. Most of the other metals found in
nodules appear to be taken up by the iron and manganese oxides either
by substitution, absorption, or adsorption and do not form separate
In addition to the minerals formed in place, there are considerable
amounts of detrital minerals within the nodules. These include quartz,
feldspars, rutile, calcite, montmorillonite, illite, and barite. These min-
erals are also extremely fine-grained and usually are distributed
throughout the entire nodule.
Formation of Manganese Nodules
Several hypotheses on the formation of deep seabed manganese
nodules have been presented, proposing organic or inorganic processes,
or a combination of both.
Recent evidence seems to favor a major role by living organisms in
the creation of manganese nodules. 3 'Small tubular structures have
been found on the surface of carefully collected nodules. These fragile
structures are built from microglobules of manganese by foraminifera
and other bottom-dwelling organisms. Some tubes originally con-
structed on nodule surfaces are found buried or preserved within the
interior of nodules. The interior tube-remains are filled with clay or
other debris and with manganese nrecipitated by inorganic or bacterial
processes. In a sense, nodules may grow in much the same way as coral.
Other evidence has been found which indicates that maganese oxides
can precipitate and accumulate onto a growing nodule without bac-
teria, but that bacterial enzymes accelerate the process through a cat-
alytic role. 4 Iron oxides and copper, nickel, and other metals probably
precipitate inorganically, since they are known to adsorb strongly on
manganese oxide. Manganese oxidizing bacteria have been found to
promote the growth of nodules by manganese accretion, whereas
3 Greenslate, J. Microorganisms Participate in the Construction of Manganese Nodules.
Nature v. 249. 1974 : 181-183.
* Ehrlich, H. L. The role of microbes in manganese nodule genesis and degradation. In
Ferromanaanpse Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE National Science
Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972 : 63-70.
manganese-oxide-reducing bacteria cause dissolution of manganese,
copper, cobalt, and nickel, but not iron from the nodules.
Earlier hypotheses favored inorganic formation of ferromanganese
nodules. A recent genetic classification of ferromanganese deposits re-
views these early theories and describes four types of deposits: (1)
Hydrogenous deposits which are formed by slow precipitation of iron
and manganese from "normal" sea water; (2) hydrothermal deposits
in which the elements are supplied by hydrothermal activity on the sea
floor, in areas of high heat flow frequently associated with volcanism ;
(3) halmyrolytic deposits in which the elements are, at least in part,
supplied by submarine weathering (halmyrolysis), generally of ba-
saltic material; (4) diagenetic deposits in which the elements are sup-
plied partly by their postdepositional redistribution within the sedi-
ment column. 5
Another hypothesis of inorganic formation of manganese nodules
is linked to data from the Deep Sea Drilling Project. This hypothesis
proposes that hot intrusive rocks could have raised the temperature in
overlying sediments thereby increasing the solubility of metals in
interstitial water. 6 This could cause leaching of metals out of sedi-
ments and outward migration of waters trapped in the sediment.
When these warm interstitial waters with higher than normal trace-
metal concentrations reach the more oxidizing interface with the over-
lying ocean water, rapid precipitation of manganese, iron, copper, and
nickel would result.
The role of iron as the mechanism for manganese nodule formation
is the basis of another hypothesis. Evidence has been found indicating
colloidal iron oxides may deposit onto suitable nuclei in cavities under
conditions of locally high acidity, followed by deposition of manganese
oxides and trace metals by a catalytic process. 7
In any event, the formation of manganese nodules is a poorly under-
stood and complex process. It is likely that no single hypothesis fully
expresses all the mechanisms involved, but portions or combinations of
several of the hypotheses mentioned may be valid. Present evidence
seems to indicate that the nodules can be formed in a variety of ways
depending on local conditions.
Manganese nodules are found on the ocean floor in many areas of the
world. Some world-wide oceanographic expeditions have recovered
them at nearly every station. Although only about 3 percent of the
ocean's floor has been extensively surveyed, there is abundant evidence
indicating that deposits of manganese nodules exist in potentially
commercial quantities. The advent of bottom photography and deep
6 Bonatti, E., T. Kraemer, and H. Rydell. Classification and genesis of submarine iron-
manjranese denosits. In Ferromanganese Denosits an the Ocean Floor. Horn D R ed
IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972: 149-16'6
6 Raab. op. cit., p. 46.
7 Burns, R. G., and B. A. Brown. Nucleation and mineralogieal controls on the eompo-
s L tlon „9! roaneanese nodules. Ferromanganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn D. R
ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington. D.C., 1972: 51-61.
water television has greatly increased the discovery of manganese
nodule deposits. As more deposits have been found, more information
has become available concerning the nature of the ocean floor where
high concentrations are most likely to be found. In general, the nodules
are found predominantly in areas of oxygen-rich water and low sedi-
mentation. Areas of low sedimentation are generally in deep regions of
the ocean, farthest from land and volcanic or high biological activity.
Manganese nodules have also been discovered in Lake Michigan. 8
Since nodules are found mainly on the sediment surface, or partially
buried, and form much more slowly than sediment accumulates, there
is some uncertainty as to what prevents their burial. Some investigators
suggest that deep sea predators feed on microorganisms living on the
nodules and nudge the nodules, keeping them on the surface. Others
suggest that the microorganisms themselves keep the nodules buoyed
up. The decrease of nodules with depth in the sediment (Fig. 2) may be
explained by dissolution of the metal oxides after burial due to the
different geochemical environment of the subseafloor.
8 Rossman, R., and E. Callander. Manganese nodules In Lake Michigan. Science, v. 162,
1968, pp. 1123-1124.
When nodule frequency at the surface is com-
pared with nodule frequency at depth in the
sediment column, it is clear that most nodules
occur at the sediment-water interface. For ex-
ample, there are four times as many nodules at
the surface as in the next 3 feet of underlying
sediment in the North Pacific.
Source : Horn, D. ~R. B. M- Horn, and M. N. Delach. Distribution of Ferromanganese
Deposits in the World Ocean. In Ferromanganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R.,
ed., IDOE, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., li>72, p. 15.
Although manganese nodules are common on the ocean floor, deposits
of sufficiently high abundance and metallic content to be commercially
attractive occur in relatively few known places. Commercial interests
have collected and analyzed a great number of manganese nodules, but
all publicly known information is based on approximately 600 sam-
ples. 9 10 X1 They are found mainly in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian
f-erromanganese deposits of the North Pacific are widespread. Limits are a function of increasing rates of deposition toward land and, in the
south, by rapid accumulation of biogenic carbonate. The highest density of nodules lies between 6 30 N and 20 N.
Most ferromanganese deposits are concentrated along the line of topographic highs
Society Islands; and the Tuamotu Archipelago.
which includes the Mamhiki Plateau; Line, Cook and
Source, Figs. 3 and 4 : Horn et at, 1972, op. cit., p. 13.
9 Horn, D. R., M. N. Delach, and B. M. Horn. Metal content of ferromanganese deposits
of the oceans. IDOE Technical Report No. 3, NSF-GX 33616, National Science Foundation,
Washington, D.C., 1973.
10 Horn, D. R., B. M. Horn, and M. N. Delach. Ocean manganese deposits, metal values
and mining sites. IDOE Technical Report No. 4, NSF-GX 33616, National Science Founda-
tion, Washington, D.C,. 1973.
u Frazier, J. Z., and G. Arrhenius. World-wide distrihution of ferromanganese nodules
and element concentration in selected Pacific Ocean nodules. IDOE Technical Report No. 2,
NSF-GX 34659, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1972.
Ferromanganese deposits of the North Atlantic. Both the Blake Plateau and Red Clay Provinces are sites of
non-deposition or very low sediment accumulation. Cores and dredges from areas outside these provinces
which recovered ferromanganese are from the flanks and summits of topographic highs.
I -« OttOGt I
Distribution of ferromanganese deposits in the South Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans. The South American Province, and Cape. Mad
agascar and Crozet Basins are areas protected from continental and biogenic debris. Rates of sedimentation are low and nodules are
Source, Figs. 5 and 6 : Horn et al., 1972, op. cit., p. 11.
NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN
The richest deposits of manganese nodules are found in the North
Pacific Ocean in a narrow band south of Hawaii just north of the
equatorial zone of high biological productivity (Fig. 3). This band is
about 200 km wide by 1500 km long and runs roughly oast-west between
latitudes 6° N and 20° N and between longitudes 110° W and 180° W.
The ocean floor is 4000 to 5000 m deep in this area and the sediments
are rich in siliceous remains of plankton (radiolaria). The floor of
the North Pacific where nodules occur can bo divided into two types:
siliceous ooze and red clay. The average metal values of nodules from
the siliceous deposits are nickel (Ni) 1.28 percent, copper (Cu) 1.16
percent, manganese (Mn) 24.6 percent and cobalt (Co) 0.23 percent,
while the nodules from the red clays contain Ni 0.76 percent, Cu 0.49
percent, Mn 18.2 percent and Co 0.25 percent.
TABLE 3.-AVERAGE ANALYSES OF MANGANESE NODULES
[In percent of dry weight]
Region Nickel Copper Manganese Cobalt
North Pacific siliceous ooze
North Pacific red clay
South Pacific elevations
South Pacific abyssal plain
Source: United Nations. Economic significance, in terms of seabed mineral resources, of the various limits proposed for
national jurisdiction. Committee on the peaceful uses of the seabed and the ocean floor beyond the limits of national juris-
diction, A/AC.138/87, June 1973: 39 pages plus appendixes.
SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN
In the South Pacific many manganese nodule deposits are concen-
trated along the southern edge of the equatorial belt and on or close
to submarine elevations such as the Manihiki Plateau, Tuamotu Archi-
pelago, Cook Islands, and Society Islands (Fig. 4). Although not as
extensive as those in the North Pacific, there are several mine grade
nodule deposits in the South Pacific and some have high cobalt content
up to 2.3 percent. Average metal values for the South Pacific are given
in Table 3.
NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
In the North Atlantic nodules appear to be concentrated on the
Blake Plateau (in water depths of about 1000 m) and in the red clay
area 1800 km east of Florida (Fig. 5). Some encrustations occur on
the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. In general, the nodules have low metal con-
tent (Ni 0.18-0.32 percent, Cu 0.08-0.29 percent, Mn 13.9-14.5 percent,
Co 0.35-0.42 percent) and some have high density or include sub-
stantial quantities of carbonate material unfavorable for metallurgical
SOUTH ATLANTIC OCEAN
Thick crusts and nodule deposits occur in some areas of the South
Atlantic. However, the deposits are generally below commercial in-
terest in metal content. One of the more extensive areas of manganese
nodules and crusts in the South Atlantic is off the west coast and
southward of South Africa (Fig. 6). The deposits in this area average
0.67 percent nickel and 0.16 percent copper.
Several areas of nodules and crusts are reported in the Indian Ocean,
such as the Agulhas Plateau, the Madagascar Basin, and the Crozet
Basin (Fig. 6). These deposits generally have metal contents below
commercial interest though some potentially minable deposits are
alleged by industry sources to have been discovered in the Indian
12 United Nations A/AC. 138/87, op. cit., p. 22.
III. MINING: SITE SELECTION, TECHNOLOGY AND PROCESSING
Mine Site Selection
Geophysical and topographic data are necessary before a mining site
can be selected (Fig. 7). The method of mining will determine, to a
limited extent, the water depth and bottom conditions necessary for
the mining system to work. For example, a nodule-collecting device
mounted on a tracked vehicle must operate on a firmer bottom than
that needed for a neutrally buoyant rake-type collection head. Both
of these methods can probably operate in an area of greater topo-
graphic variation than the continuous line bucket (CLB) dredge.
About 25 factors are involved in calculations to determine the eco-
nomic value of a ferromanganese nodule deposit. 1 In addition to the
water depth, bottom topography, and physical characteristics of the
sediment, other important criteria are the concentration of the nod-
ules, their size, uniformity, metal content, distance to port or process
facility, and weather in the deposit area. Since the nodule concentra-
tion per unit area of the sea floor and their metal content may vary
within a prospective mine site, the site must be thoroughly sampled
to ensure it can support a mining operation. Free-fall grab samplers,
dredges, and television cameras are commonly used to evaluate the
economic potential of a mining area (Fig. 7) .
1 Mero, J. L. Potenial economic value of ocean-floor manganese nodule deposits. In Ferro-
manganese Deposits on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE, National Science Founda-
tion, Washington, D.C., 1972 : 191-203.
Offshore Exploration of Ores
Figure 7. — Offshore exploration of nodules.
Source : United Nations, Economic implications of sea-bed mineral development in the
international area : report of the Secretary-General, A/CONF.62/25, May 22, 1974, p. 13.
Major changes in the metals market will affect the selection of a
mine site, either making lower grade nodules profitable or confining
mining operations to only the highest grade deposits. The type of
metals recovery process used or the metals market the company desires
to enter will feed back into site selection. For example, a company may
wish to market cobalt, copper, nickel, and manganese while another
company may be interested in extracting and marketing only cobalt,
copper, and nickel. These considerations will affect the size of the
mining operation necessary, desired metal values of the nodules, and,
hence, the site selection.
The efficiency of the mining system will also play a role in determin-
ing the minimum size economically feasible as a mining site. As yet
there are no hard data on recovery efficiency. The total amount of ore
mined from workable or accessible areas of a mine site depends on the
pick-up efficiency of the collecting device and the mine sweeping effi-
ciency or ratio of area actually swept by the bottom device to the area
accessible for mining. Limited experience indicates that the dredge
head pick-up efficiency is somewhere between 30 percent and 70 percent,
probably around 50 percent. The mine sweeping efficiency is a function
of the characteristics of the mining equipment, navigational system,
and operation procedures. Sweep efficiency may be around 45 to 65 per-
cent. Two other factors to consider are unminable areas (about 15 to 25
percent of the bottom appears to be too rough or otherwise physically
unsuitable for mining) and cut-off grade (about 10 percent of the site
is expected to contain nodules of too low grade to be mined). The most
unfavorable combination of factors (accessibility, dredge efficiency,
sweep efficiency, and cut-off grade may allow only 9 percent of the
nodules in an area to be recovered. An optimistic combination is likely
to allow 35 percent recovery and a completely ideal combination could
yield 58 percent recovery. A working average for nodule recovery
efficiency expected by industry is around 25 percent or higher. The
production period for the venture to be profitable and the overall min-
ing efficiency determine the minimum site size. Production periods of
twenty years have generally been assumed. Greater efficiency would
permit a smaller mine site to be commercial as would a shorter pro-
duction period, if acceptable.
Some experts believe that exploration for potential mine sites over a
broad area may become more restricted or difficult if an international
regime is established to regulate the seabed. However, most of the
major groups involved in ferromanganese nodule mining investiga-
tions have completed the exploration stage and are aware of a number
of potential mining sites. 2
Nodule Mining Technology
Once a mining site has been selected the next problem is to collect
and elevate the nodules to the surface from depths of 3000 to 5000
meters. Mining methods must be highly reliable and must recover
volumes large enough to be economic. Three basic systems have been
devised: (1) Air-lift, (2) hydraulic lift without air, and (3) mechani-
cal lift such as the continuous line bucket (CLB) system. Each of these
basic methods has individual variations. In addition to these continu-
ous recovery methods, batch systems such as wireline dredging and
buoyant hoppers have also been proposed. 3 However, while single-
collector dredging is useful for obtaining large tonnage samples for
evaluation, it is not considered an economic large-scale production sys-
tem due to its high cost and low recovery rate when used at great
The air-lift pumping (ALP) or pneumatic lift method is techni-
cally a three-phase flow: air, water, and nodules. Compressed air is
injected into the pipe at various depths. The upward movement draws
water, nodules, and surrounding sediment into the bottom end of the
pipe. The nodules are literally vacuumed off the seabed and carried up
2 Rothstein, A. J., and R. Kaufman. The approachlnp maturity of deep ocean mining —
tl).« pace quickens. Offshore Technology Conference Preprint* t97S, v. 1. 107'!, pp.
3 Wenzel, J. C. Systems — development planning. In Ocean Engineering. Brahtz, J. F..
ed.. Wiley, New York, l!)t>S. p. 110.
* United Nations. A/C0NF.C2/2."), op. cit., p. 17.
the pipe by the flow of water and air and deposited in the mining ship
on the surface (Fig. 8). The ALP system is inherently more complex
than a single or dual phase system. Several technical difficulties have
presented themselves. The amount and injection point of air, diameter
of pipe, amount of water transported, and amount and size of solids
transported each have narrow tolerance limits. For this reason, the
system must be carefully adjusted to the conditions of each individual
OCEAN MINING SYSTEM
Nodule Mining by Airlift System
Figure 8. — Artist's conception of the likely operation of three systems proposed
for mining nodules.
Source : United Nations, A/CONF.62/25 op. cit., p. 18.
The bottom device or dredge head must be carefully designed to
screen out nodules that are too large to be transported by the air/
water stream or might clog the pipe. Generally, a rake type device is
used to both loosen and screen the nodules. Deepsea Ventures has devel-
oped and successfully tested this system on the Blake Plateau in 750
meters of water in 1970. 5 In the Deepsea Ventures system the dredge
head is towed across the bottom by the mining ship. Modifications of
this method may involve a self-propelled bottom device such as a
tracked crawler or a stationary unit with a rotating arm. 6 7
m : 90m.
Figure. 9. — Research Vessel Deepsea Miner. A converted general cargo ship
displacing 7,500 tons full load with an overall length of 320 feet. The major
hull modification was the installation of a 20 foot by 30 foot long well (Moon
Pool) slightly aft of midship. A 5 root high derrick was installed to handle
several thousand feet of 9 s /8" drill casing.
Photo by B. J. Nixon, Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
The efficiency of the air-lift system is not completely known. Since
nodules larger than the system can support must l)e rejected, the
efficiency on that basis alone would be lower than total size range
recovery systems. The large factors of uncertainty, however, are how
efficiently the dredge head can interact with the bottom and how tight
a pattern of traversing the mine site the mine ship can accomplish.
5 Covey. C. W. Ocean mining system completes tests. Under Sea Technology, October
1970. p. 22-23, 28.
6 Shearv. G. W.. and J. E. Steele. Mechanical deep sea nodule harvester. United States
Patent 3.480.320. November 1U(\U.
7 Smith, VV. J. An assessment of deep-sea manganese nodule exploitation technology-
Unpublished manuscript, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst., 1972.
65-675 O - 76 -
From a resource management point of view, it would be desirable for
the site to be mined as efficiently as possible to minimize the area of
From a reliability point of view, although the ALP system must
supply great amounts of compressed air to various water depths, there
are no underwater pumps and other machinery to break down. How-
ever, the ALP system is more complex in concept than a CLB system
which doesn't have a long pipe string to handle, and the bucket system
is more flexible in the ability to cope with a variety of bottom
The hydraulic or hydrolift system is similar to the ALP, but it
relies entirely on pumped water to provide upward flow through the
pipe. This is technically a two-phase system : nodules and water. The
technology for this system is already well developed and is used in
the coal industry and in mud pumps used in oil drilling. The pump
can be located close to the bottom or at intermediate depth. The
hydraulic system seems to be favored by a recently formed interna-
tional consortium managed by Kennecott Copper Corp. 8 9
The third major recovery method, the continuous line bucket (CLB)
system, appears to be the simplest in principle. This system uses a
continuous polypropelene braided rope with dredge buckets attached
at 25 to 50 meter intervals. The rope is wound through traction motors
mounted at both forward and aft ends of the mining vessel. Because
the rope line is neutrally bouyant, it tends to loop out away from the
direction of motion of the mining ship (Fig. 10). As the line rotates
the bottom of the loop drags across the seabed filling the buckets. The
drag and increased weight of the buckets causes the loop to become
more directly aligned with the lifting force. Consequently, the line
moves upward more nearly vertically than its descent, and fouling of
the loop upon itself is avoided.
8 Tinsley, C. R. In search for commercial nodules, odds look best in Miocene-age Pacific
Tertiary System. Engineering and Mining Journal, June 1973, p. 114—116.
8 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 3, Feb. 1974, pp. 1-2.
Scale: l"= 4500
Cable Diameter and Buckets Not Drawn To Scale
Figure 10. — Schematic drawing illustrating the design and operation of the
Continuous Line Bucket System for mining deep ocean nodule deposits as pro-
posed by Yoshio Masuda. A successful pilot test of this system was conducted
in over 12,000 ft. (3,650 m) of water north of Tahiti in the summer of 1970.
Source : Mero, op. cit., p. 199.
The CLB system is the method in which there is the greatest amount
of international participation. One of the largest ventures formed is
a mining consortium called the CLB Group. 10 The CLB Group is a
joint systems development effort involving more than 25 major com-
panies in six countries and is managed by Dr. John L. Mero, presi-
dent of Ocean Resources, Inc. of La Jolla, California. This con-
sortium only intends to develop and test jointly the CLB system, then
split up for commercial operations.
10 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 12, June 24, 1974, pp. 1-2.
The CLB system was successfully tested in 3,650 meters of water
north of Tahiti in August 1970. 11 A later test in August and Sep-
tember 1972 recovered seven tons of nodules off Hawaii. 12 Several
participants of the CLB consortium under the leadership of CNEXO
of France are developing a modification of the CLB which involves
the use of two ships working in tandem. 13 Members of the CLB Group
met in Houston in May 1974 to plan financing and construction of
a two-ship system which is expected to be ready for testing in 1975-76.
The system will be built in France by Ateliers et Chantiers de
The primary advantage of the CLB system over the other two tech-
niques is simplicity and perhaps cost. The latter advantage has been
strenuously disputed. 15 It also has the advantage of being able to
recover nodules of any size and does not need to be designed for a
specific depth and type of sediment as do hydraulic and air-lift sys-
tems. Difficulties with the CLB system may result from irregular bot-
tom topography and potential snags. The buckets must also pick up
a good load of nodules and little sediment for the system to be eco-
nomic, and there is no way to control how the buckets interact with the
bottom. Critics also claim the system cannot be cycled rapidly enough
to recover a profitable tonnage of nodules. 16
Mining efficiency of this system again can only be estimated. The
area mined is controlled by maneuvering the surface mining ship or
ships; consequently, bottom coverage and nodule recovery may be
Nodule Processing Technology
Because of the mineralogy of f erromanganese nodules is unlike that
of any commercially mined land-based mineral deposit, straight-
forward methods of extracting metals do not work. The manganese
oxide and iron oxide minerals that are the main constituents of the
nodules are extremely fine-grained and are bound in a rock (siliceous)
matrix. Most of the other metals of interest are present in the nodules
essentially as impurities in the iron and manganese oxides. Conse-
quently, physical methods of separating the metals have not proved
successful. Although it is possible to reduce the oxides by smelting,
the resultant alloy of iron and other metals is difficult to separate
further. Generally, chemical leaching or hydrometallurgical tech-
niques are considered the most likely commercial methods. Details of
most of these methods are regarded as proprietary information by the
companies developing them. From information available, general
descriptions of some of these extraction methods or metal winning
processes can be derived.
u Masuda, Y., M. J. Crulckshank, and J. L. Mero. Continuous bucketline dredging at
12,000 feet. Offshore Technology Conference, Preprints Paper No. 1410, 1971.
12 Mining Magazine, January 1973, p. 7.
"United Nations, A/CONF.62/25, op. oit.,p. 19.
"CNEXO, Bulletin d' Information, No. 61, January 1974. p. 5.
15 Hammond, A. L., Maganese Nodules (II) : Prospects for Deep Sea Mining, Science, v.
183, Feb. 15, 1974, pp. 644-646.
™Ibid., p. 644.
The first step in virtually all extraction techniques involves crushing
the nodules. Nickel and copper are relatively easy to separate by
chemical methods as these metals are associated with the manganese
oxides. Leaching solutions can be developed to concentrate these metals
and leave most of the others behind. Cobalt is found mostly with the
iron minerals. 17 Removing cobalt and other metals requires additional
steps. The leaching method is carefully designed to optimize the yield
of the particular metals which a company wishes to market (Table 4).
TABLE 4.— COMPARISON OF 3 AND 4 METAL PRODUCTION FROM NODULES
MANGANESE WILL BE THE MAJOR PRODUCT IF THE OCEAN IS MINED FOR 4 METALS • • •
(millions of price (per Gross value Percent of
pounds) pound) (millions) gross value
Manganese i 500.0 50.15 $75.0 58.8
Nickel 25.0 1.40 35.0 27.5
Copper 20.0 .56 11.2 8.8
Cobalt 4.4 1.40 6.2 4.9
Total 127.4 100.0
• * • BUT NICKEL WILL BE CRUCIAL TO THE COMPANY THAT PRODUCES ONLY 3 METALS
Nickel 75.0 $1.40 $105.0 66.8
Copper 60.0 .56 33.6 21.4
Cobalt 13.2 1.40 18.5 11.8
Total 157.1 100.0
1 Assumes that high-purity manganese will be marketed rather than ferromanganese.
Source: Chemical and Engineering news. Mar. 4, 1974, p. 25.
One leaching method being developed is the hydrogen chloride proc-
ess of Deepsea Ventures. In this method hydrogen chloride reacts with
the crushed nodules at elevated temperatures to dissolve essentially all
the nodule material. Most of the metals except iron form soluble metal
chlorides which are then leached with water and separated from the
solid residue. The solid residue containing inert silicates, sulfates, and
oxides (mainly iron oxides) is regarded as waste. Chlorine gas is re-
covered as a by product and hydrogen chloride can be recovered from
the leach liquor and recycled (Fig. 11).
17 Ibid., p. 646.
Fig. 11 Hydrochloric acid process
Erf SFtT ^rJ zzi-?? 3 »_-uft
Ni. Co 1
| H 2<
co 2 '
_pnnn j 1 pro °"'
I Steam ▼
Copper recovery Al 2°3
■^ Manganese >
Copper ^ ^- _
electrowinning * Copper >
■^ Nickel ^ >
•^ Cobalt /
Source : Sisselman, R. Ocean Miners take soundings on Legal Problems, Development
Alternatives, Engineering and Mining Journal, April 1975, p. 86. Copyright 1975, Engi-
neering and Mining Journal, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020.
A proprietary ion exchange process extracts each metal into a sepa-
rate solution from which it is plated out in an electrolytic cell. Since
manganese cannot be recovered electrolytically, another proprietary
method is used for this metal.
The metals initially slated for recovery by this method are cobalt,
copper, nickel, and manganese. Eecovery of other metals such as mo-
lybdenum, vanadium, zinc, and cadmium is being considered should
market conditions make their production profitable. This apparently is
the only process being considered commercially that would produce
high-purity manganese from the nodules.
Advantages of this method are the high recovery rate of the metal
content of the ore (better than 95 percent) and the low potential for
pollution problems (the solvents are recycled) .
SULFUR DIOXIDE ROASTING AND WATER LEACHING
A second process, suitable for production of manganese in the form
of ferromanganese, is the sulfur dioxide (S0 2 ) roasting method devel-
oped by the U.S. Bureau of Mines. The basis of this method is to get
the ore in the form of soluble sulfates by roasting in an atmosphere of
S0 2 and air, followed by leaching in water. Copper is precipitated out
directly using metallic iron, while nickel and cobalt are recovered by
an autoclaving technique. Further purification of the nickel and cobalt
sulfates is necessary before conversion to metallic form. The remain-
ing manganese sulfates can then be processed further to yield ferro-
The entire process is rather involved and exacting, but its overall
complexity may be no greater than other methods. Companies that
have sulfur dioxide to dispose of (as from copper smelters) may find
this method attractive.
Among the disadvantages are that the sulfate system is difficult to
operate as a closed cycle and it is reported that 45 percent of the sulfur
used is not recovered. 18 This may present a pollution problem. How-
ever, disposal of the unrecovered sulfate ion may be easier than sulfur
dioxide if the latter were a disposal problem initially as in the case of
A third process, whereby only the associated metals of nickel, copper,
cobalt, and molybdenum are recovered from the nodules, involves the
use of ammoniacal solutions (ammonia plus an ammonium salt such
as a carbonate, chloride, or sulfate). In order to dissolve the metals
using ammoniacal solutions, the oxides must first be reduced (Fig. 12) .
This is accomplished by roasting with a gaseous reducing agent such
as carbon monoxide or hydrogen. Elevated temperatures and pressures
are used to improve the metal recovery from the reduction and leach-
ing operation. This process is reported to recover 85 percent or better
of the copper, nickel, cobalt, and molybdenum leaving the manganese
and iron essentially intact. 19
Fig. 12 Ammonia leach process
Leaching and washing
-^ Cobalt y
Source: Sisselman, R. op. oit., p. 84. Copyright 1975, Engineering and Mining Journal,
1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020.
18 Brooks, P. T. and D. A. Martin, Processing manganiferous sea nodules. U.S. Bureau of
Mines, Report of Investigations 7473, 1971.
19 Cardwell, op. cit., p. 41.
Kennecott has obtained a number of patents for ammoniacal leach-
ing methods. This process is similar to one used to extract nickel from
laterite ores and is believed to be the process favored by Kennecott for
commercial use in nodule processing.
SULFURIC ACID LEACHING
Several investigators have tried leaching ferromanganese nodules in
sulfuric acid under various conditions of time, temperature, and
acidity (Fig. 13). The basis of this method is that individual metals
exhibit differing degrees of solubility under varying conditions of
acidity. The problems mainly involve a trade-off between the efficiency
of extraction and the amount of unwanted material extracted or selec-
tivity of extraction. In general, the method is not regarded as being
selective enough for commercial operations. Copper, nickel, and cobalt
are readily dissolved, but appreciable amounts of manganese and iron
along with several trace metals are also leached. This leads to problems
in further separation. An additional disadvantage is the large amount
of acid consumed, about ten times that equivalent to the dissolved
metals. Presumably this is due to the large amount of basic material
trapped within the nodules. 20 Furthermore, if a closed loop system is
devised, the concentration of trace metals will build up in the leach
liquor making purification of the economic metals more difficult.
Fig. 23 Sulphuric acid process
|| ___ Wash water
j rr hir ~L L T one
Nu Vi-\ recovery
■5^ Cobalt y
A Nickel ^>
. A mm sulphate
Source : Sisselman, R. op. cit., p. 85. Copyright 1975, Engineering and Mining Journal,
1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020.
30 Ibid. p. 41.
Although this method is a standard technique of land-based mining
operations, it does not appear to be of commercial interest for proces-
sing ferromanganese nodules. The problem again is one of selectivity.
Manganese nodules contain numerous metals which smelting reduces
to a complex alloy. Still, investigations of this method for processing
ferromanganese nodules have been made. 21
In the pyrometallurgical approach, the objective is to reduce selec-
tively and collect the nickel, copper, cobalt, and molybdenum in a
metallic product while rejecting a major part of the manganese and
iron in the slag. By regulating the temperature and amount of carbon
introduced, it is possible to control the distribution of manganese
between the molten iron phase and the slag. However, while the metal-
lic phase is nearly free of manganese, it contains an appreciable
amount of iron from which it is difficult to separate the marketable
metals. The manganese slag could be processed further into a ferro-
manganese product. This pyrometallurgical approach may be of in-
terest only if an existing smelter were available, but it is not likely
to attract new capital. 22
21 Ibid. pp. 39-40.
22 Ibid. p. 40.
IV. ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
As every action man undertakes has an environmental impact, the
mining of ferromanganese nodules will have some effect on the en-
vironment of the ocean floor as well as on the entire water column
through which the mining system passes. The need to define better the
magnitude of this impact has been a concern raised by many. Research
to date indicates that the environmental impact of deep seabed mining
may be negligible.
Several investigations have been conducted to determine the extent
of the environmental impact of manganese nodule mining. At the in-
vitation of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., in the summer of 1970 a group of
marine scientists under the direction of Dr. Oswald A. Roels of the
Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory observed a pilot ALP mining
test on the Blake Plateau in the Atlantic. In this test, studies were
made on the mixing of the bottom water discharged into the surface
waters and its effect on dissolved oxygen concentration and phyto-
plankton growth. No significant effects were found. In July 1972, a
cruise aboard the R/V Robert D. Conrad was undertaken to determine
the physical, chemical, and biological baseline conditions in a manga-
nese nodule province on the Bermuda Rise. The bottom dwelling
fauna were found to be very sparse in this area. In August and Sep-
tember 1972, investigators under support from the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitored a test of the
CLB mining system in a siliceous ooze province in the North Pacific.
Physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the water column
were observed and bottom dwelling fauna were sampled before, dur-
ing, and after the mining operation. In addition, cores and photo-
graphs were taken of the bottom. The investigators found the effects
and disturbances of the mining operation were very minor.
Deep sea mining may generate several specific problems such as re-
population, transplantation, surface water contamination, and pollu-
tion from shipboard processing. These problems have been investi-
gated and although apparently minor, monitoring would be desirable
during commercial operations.
The ability of bottom organisms to repopulate a mined area will
affect the extent and duration of the environmental impact. No data
on this have been obtained although the National Oceanic and At-
mospheric Administration is actively engaged in a limited research
program to determine the environmental impact of deep sea mining. 1 2
In addition to damage of organisms in the mining path, bottom
sediments stirred up by the mining operation may clog or smother
benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms over a much wider area than
that which is actually mined. This could make the reestablishment of
the bottom ecosystem even more difficult. Depending on the magnitude
of the sediment stirring problem, proposed unmined buffer zones for
repopulation purposes may be ineffective unless made very wide. How-
ever, it is not likely that entire species will be destroyed by mining
operations as the present techniques are not 100 percent efficient in
Another possible consequence of the suspension of lifted sediments
in the water column is the transplantation of spores or other dormant
forms of microorganisms from one area, where they lay in the sedi-
ment, to another, where they may be reactivated under favorable
temperature, light, and oxygen conditions in the overlying water
column. However, it has also been argued that the redistribution of
sediments on the ocean floor from natural causes exceeds by several
orders of magnitude any disturbance ever likely to be caused by deep
sea mining. 3
SURFACE WATER CONTAMINATION
The introduction of bottom water and material into the upper water
layers is a complex problem and may prove either beneficial or deleteri-
ous. Introduction of sediments and bottom material into the surface
waters may increase trace-metal concentrations by leaching of nodules
or sediments, which could inhibit photosynthesis or allow the accumu-
lation of different trace metals within marine food chains. However,
nodule material is not very likely to dissolve in the upper water layers.
The oxide surfaces represent such effective adsorbents that trace metals
are unlikely to be leached in large quantities, even though they are
present at concentrations many times those in seawater. Some silieious
material brought up as sediment could be expected to dissolve slightly
increasing the silica (Si0 2 ) content of the surface water.
A likely effect on the surface water will be an increase in photo-
synthetic activity and productivity resulting from the high nutrient
concentration of the bottom water. The extent of this effect will be
determined by the concentration of nutrients introduced into the sur-
face water and the amount of time that this nutrient-rich water re-
mains in the euphotic zone. A phytoplankton bloom should be bene-
ficial if a food chain develops to consume it, otherwise decaying
plankton may cause partial fouling of the water. However, because
organic particulate material will oxidize slowly as it falls through
the water column, the resultant decrease in oxygen concentration prob-
ably will be very small and may not cause any significant fouling.
Oxidation of organic material discharged in the mining effluent as a
1 Ocean Science News. v. 16, No. 19. May 10, 1974, p. 2-3.
3 U.S. Department of Commerce. The environmental Impart of deep-sea mining, progress
report. NOAA Technical Report ERL 290-OD 11. Boulder. Colo.. 1073: 185 p.
3 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommitee on
Minerals. Materials and Fuels. Hearings. 93d Congress, 2d session on Amendment No. 946
to S. 1134. Mar. 5, 6, and 11, 1974. Part 2, Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974.
result of the destruction of benthos (deep sea plant or animal orga-
nisms) will also reduce oxygen in the water. On the other hand, nutri-
ent stimulated photosynthesis will increase the oxygen concentration.
Perhaps a more serious effect is that discharged particulate material
will produce turbidity in the euphotic zone cutting down light inten-
sity and reducing photosynthetic activity.
POLLUTION FROM SHIPBOARD PROCESSING
Another environmental consideration would be the potential impact
of the discharge of wastes or residues from possible shipboard pre-
liminary processing of nodules. If any such methods are developed
that are not self contained, wastes or residues could produce a severe
strain on the ecosystem in the mining area. However, most major con-
cerns involved in the development of manganese nodules have deter-
mined that at least for first generation plants, economical processing
can be accomplished only ashore. The principal reasons for this are
that the reagent transportation costs will be equal to, or greater than
the nodule costs, and problems of waste disposal and environmental
protection will be much greater at sea than on land.
Although several different mining systems are proposed, some com-
mon effects can be expected and some impacts are unique to each
system. Among the common impacts are:
(1) the destruction of the benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms
and their habitats in the path of the mining operation;
(2) stirring up sedimentary material as the mining implement
sweeps the ocean floor; and
(3) introduction of sedimentary material, associated bottom
organisms, and bottom water into various layers of the water
column, including, in some cases, the surface water.
The extent of each of these impacts depends on the mining technique
used. Both the air-lift pumping (ALP) and hydro-lift systems trans-
port nodules, sediment, benthos and deep water to the surface. In these
processes abrasion produces quantities of fine nodule material and
macerated organic material. Except for the nodules, all these materials
are discharged into the ocean surface water where they may remain
in suspension or sink depending on their physical conditions. The con-
tinuous-line bucket system is designed to bring only nodules to the sur-
face; however, in practice some benthos and sediment may be en-
trapped and distributed throughout the water column. This system
will introduce more sediment into the lower water column but less
material into the surface water than the ALP or hydro-lift systems.
In addition to environmental concerns, stirred sediment is also a min-
ing problem. It may obscure the bottom or cover the nodules making
Findings and Further Investigations
In reporting on preliminary investigations, including monitoring
an ALP mining system on the Blake Plateau in the Atlantic and a
CLB system in the silicious ooze province in the North Pacific, the
NOAA report concluded, "In this preliminary work, no definite effects
of mining have been observed, tentatively suggesting that mining dis-
turbances were not great." 4 This assessment was based on numerous
analyses of the physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the
overlying water column before, during and after the mining operations
and several cores and pictures of the sea floor. NOAA recommended
further research should :
(1) establish physical, chemical, and biological baseline en-
vironmental conditions in potential mining areas ;
(2) document changes induced in benthic and pelagic ecosys-
tems by deep-sea mining;
(3) formulate guidelines for future mining operations which
will minimize harmful environmental effects while enhancing the
development of potentially beneficial byproducts ; and
(4) determine the properties which should be monitored during
deep-sea mining to provide the information needed to evaluate the
environmental impact of specific mining methods and to devise
mitigating measures, if necessary. 5
In early May 1974, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin-
istration of the Commerce Department announced the establishment
of a Deep Ocean Mining Environmental Study (DOMES) based at
the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. 6 Under
funding of $3 million for fiscal year 1976, DOMES began a three-
month environmental study in the tropical Pacific with more than 30
scientists from NOAA, the Geological Survey, and several universities
aboard the NOAA ship Oceanographer. An advisory panel has been
authorized to review DOMES activities to ensure their relevance to
industry, environmental interest groups, and other government
agencies. One reason given for placing immediate emphasis on environ-
mental studies is that if commercial mining is expected to start by
1980, corporate decisions on mining equipment design and production
techniques should have been in the final stages by mid-1975. 7
In September 1975, the Office of Marine Minerals (OOMM) was
established in NOAA to plan and coordinate . NO AA's expanded
marine mining activities. The DOMES effort and $750,000 in Sea
Grants in fiscal year 1976 were identified as programs with which the
new office will be concerned. Onshore impacts from activities such as
nodule processing will also be studied.
Impacts of Alternative Sources
By way of comparison with present ores, manganese nodules do not
contain sulfur ; therefore, there will be no waste disposal problems of
sulfur salts, acids, or gases. However, other materials used in process-
ing may present disposal problems depending on the metallurgical
Nodule mining* could provide the entire world population for hun-
dreds of years with a sufficient supply of manv metals. To equal this
reserve bv land mining would require the exploitation of many new
areas including mining low grade deposits which are not now com-
mercial. It is possible that in the future these areas may need to be
used or preserved for other purposes.
* TT.S. Department of Commerce, op. cit. p. 10B.
*Tbid. p. 161.
8 Ocean Science New 9, op. cit.. p. 2-3.
T Ibid., p. 3.
V. MINING INTERESTS AND ECONOMICS
Although many companies individually began exploration and
development of mining systems for deep seabed ferromanganese
nodules, the recent trend has been to band together into national or
international consortia. The major mining interests and consortia
currently involved in nodule recovery are summarized in the following
categories: (1) U.S. interests, (2) international consortia, and (3)
U.S. Mixing Interests
One of the early entries into deep ocean mining was Deepsea Ven-
tures. Inc.. a subsidiary of Tenneco Inc. Deepsea Ventures was orga-
nized in 1968 by Tenneco to further an ocean mining project which
had been previously under development for six years by another
Tenneco subsidiary, Xewport Xews Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Com-
pany. Deepsea Ventures has operated two mining research vessels, the
150-foot R/V Prospector and the 320-foot R/V Deepsea Miner. Their
mining technique and ore processing involve an air-lift recovery sys-
tem and hydrometallurgical extraction of manganese in addition to
copper, cobalt, and nickel. In May 1974, Tenneco formed a consortium
of Deepsea Ventures with three Japanese firms. In November 1974,
the consortium was joined by United States Steel Corp. and Union
Miniere of Belgium. 1 This development will be discussed in the next
section under consortia. On November 14, 1974 Deepsea Ventures be-
came the first company to file a claim for mining rights on the deep
seabed. This claim is not officially recognized by the U.S. Department
Another early entry into the field of seabed mining was Kennecott
Copper Corp. This firm began research into nodule deposits, mining,
and processing in 1962. It has developed nodule recovery techniques
based on hydraulic methods and carried out research on hydrometal-
lurgical processes of metal extraction, some involving liquid ion ex-
change. In 1973 Kennecott operated a pilot plant in Lexington, Massa-
chusetts, which processed half a ton of ore per day. This process did
not recover manganese or trace metals. On January 29, 1974, Kenne-
cott announced the formation of an international consortium with firms
from Japan, Great Britain, and Canada.
Among the other U.S. companies to have developed an interest in
deep ocean mining are Union Carbide Exploration Corp. However,
Union Carbide is reported to have dropped its nodule mining pro-
1 Ocean Science News. Nov. 15, 1974, p. 4.
gram. 2 Founded in 1965, Ocean Resources Inc. has worked with Jap-
anese, European, and Canadian firms to develop a CLB mining sys-
tem. In 1968 and 1970 Ocean Resources conducted cruises for explora-
tion of nodule deposits and development of a CLB system with the
Japan Ocean Resources Association. In 1971 Ocean Resources orga-
nized a consortium to test a CLB system. More recently, Ocean Re-
sources organized a 25-member consortium from six countries to de-
velop and production-test CLB systems. Other U.S. firms represented
in this consortium include Ethyl Corp., Occidental Minerals, Phelps-
Dodge, N.L. Industries, Superior Oil, Utah International, United
States Steel, General Crude Oil, and Atlantic Richfield Oil. Bethle-
hem Steel is also reported to have an interest in nodule mining. 3 Bat-
telle Memorial Institute is reported to be conducting research on
nodule processing. 4
Another U.S. firm with a generally unadvertised but long standing
interest in deep seabed mining is Lockheed Missiles and Space Co.,
Inc. In November 1975, Lockheed publicly announced that it had been
developing a nodule mining system and processing technology for
over 10 years. However, Lockheed stated it cannot proceed alone to
the expensive ocean testing phase.
The Howard Hughes Enigma
In view of recent events, a U.S. firm that bears special mention with
regard to the development of deep sea mining technology is the Sum-
ma Corporation owned by the billionaire recluse Howard Hughes. In
1968, a Russian diesel-powered submarine carrying torpedos and mis-
siles armed with nuclear warheads sank about 750 miles northwest of
Hawaii. The ship broke up as it sank to the ocean floor at a depth of
16,000 feet. Evidently, the Russian navy did not know the exact loca-
tion of the mishap although U.S. listening devices had pinpointed the
ship's location with accuracy. 5 The U.S. Navy and Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA) recognized this as a rare opportunity to gain valuable
information about Soviet codes and nuclear capabilities. However, the
means of retrieving the remains of the submarine were lacking. The
CIA apparently provided the incentive for Howard Hughes to build
the 618-foot, 36,000-ton Glomar Explorer, which was widely advertised
as a deep seabed mining ship, with recovery of the submarine in mind.
In any event, deep seabed mining made a good cover for the
secret activities of the CIA to recover the submarine. Consequently,
the CIA became the owner and primary impetus for the develop-
ment of the specialized deep sea recovery technology through Summa
Corporation, beginning about 1970.
The normal secrecy of the Hughes operations contributed to the
complete success of the cover story resulting in numerous accounts
such as, "Howard Hughes may have manganese nodules on the deck
of his deep-ocean mining ship, the Glomar Explorer, by mid-1974." 6
a Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, Part 2. op. cit., p. 1081.
3 Oceanograph Newsletter, v. 9. No. 12. June 24, 1974. p. 1.
*FHpse, J. E. Ocean Mining Stifled by lack of U.S. and U.N. Action. Sea Technology,
January 1974, p. 33.
6 Washington Post. Mar. 23, 1975, p. Al and A7.
6 Tinsley, C. R. Mining of Manganese Nodules : an Intriguing Legal Problem. Engineer-
ing/Mining Journal, October 1973, p. 84.
Other accounts were also speculative or else described design features
of the ship or equipment that could not be concealed. 7 8
The cover story not only deceived the news media and mining com-
munity but also had an effect on the Law of the Sea negotiations on
exploitation of deep seabed resources. It was reported that the activi-
ties of the Summa Corporation mining ships were a frequent topic
in the corridors in Caracas. 9 Others have been led to speculate, "Hope-
fully, the first benefit of the Hughes venture will be to catalyze action
on some settlement of the question of manganese nodules and the
law." 10 However, now that the covert activities of Hughes are known
there is a suspicious reaction to the question of all ocean research.
Christopher W. Pinto of Sri Lanka observed at the Geneva session of
the Law of the Sea Conference : "The developing countries have been
arguing on the basis that espionage is the real reason why the major
powers seek complete freedom for scientific research. Now that this is
confirmed, they can be more forceful." xl
This all began in 1970 when the Summa Corporation contracted
with Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. and Global Marine, Inc., who
have extensive experience in undersea technology and deep sea drilling
techniques to design a recovery system. The fact that Global Marine
has a patent for a deep seabed nodule mining system filed as early as
December 1966, that appears to be compatible with the ship and barge
system actually constructed, would suggest that the basic technology
developed for retrieval of the submarine, if not originally intended for
nodule mining, could readily be transferred to nodule mining. The
claw arrangement described in the press for grappling the submarine 12
could be replaced by the mining head described in patent 3,433,531
issued to Global Marine in March 1969 (Fig. 14). The apparatus
described in the patent consists of a long rotating boom on a fixed base
which could sweep out a large area before being repositioned. If crush-
ing is employed in the base unit, nodules of any size could be collected
and transported up the pipe string by an air-lift pump. This method
would cover a mine site relatively efficiently and avoid the difficulty
of other systems of towing a dredge head over the bottom without
undue stress on the pipeline. Although a barge is mentioned in the
patent, the one constructed was designed mainly to meet the
needs of the CIA. Another connection to deep sea mining came when
Lockheed recently publicly stated that it has been active for over 10
years in developing nodule mining and processing technology and that
it has tested a mining system on land but has not yet proceeded to sea
trials. Lockheed is now looking for partners and financing before
going much further.
There is little doubt that the Glow-ar Explorer could be used for
deep seabed mining but the expense of adapting it to a particular min-
ing system would likely be prohibitive for a commercial operation. Its
value at present would mainly be as a sophisticated research ship and
platform for testing ocean mining equipment.
I Now Howard Huehps Mlnps thp Orpan Floor. Rustnesa Week. Jnnp lfi. 1973. p. 47-50.
8 Huahea Glnmar Explorer Bpgins Sea Tests of Mining Systems. Ocean Industn/. March
1974. p. 32-34.
8 Alexander, Tom. Dead Ahead Toward a Bounded Main. Fortune, October 1974, p. 210.
10 Tlnsley. op. cit.. p. 87.
II Orenn Science Neira. Mar. 21. 1975, p. 2.
12 Washington Post. Mar. 19, 1975, p. Al, A10.
65-675 O - 76 - 4
March 13, 1969
N. KOOT ET Ai_
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR UNDERSEA MININo
Filed Dec. 27, 1966 Sheet 4 of
0# ( —
Figure 14. — Patent issued to Global Marine, Inc.
After the CIA coverup story came out, Paul Reeve, general man-
ager of the Summa Corporation, stated : "This equipment was devel-
oped as a prototype mining ship, and this is its objective." 13 Mr. Reeve
is also reported to have acknowledged that extensive tests of the
Hughes mining system still need to be concluded before he could make
any predictions as to when Summa might actually produce nodules
from the ocean floor.
Jack Flipse, president of Deepsea Ventures, regarded the Summa
Corp. as a legitimate mining interest which took on a related assign-
ment for the CIA. He was reported to observe that up to about a year
and a half before the CIA story broke, the company was working hard
on its technology for processing manganese nodules. Suddenly, their
efforts in that area ceased and the only reports of the Hughes ocean
mining activities that surfaced were those concerning the ship and
barge system design. 14
The recent trend of many firms to form international consortia to
mine the ocean floor is claimed to have many advantages. In the ab-
sence of an international agreement regarding exploitation of the deep
seabed, one advantage is broadened government support. Other ad-
vantages include the benefits of diverse capabilities, pooled invest-
ments, and shared risk.
The first international consortium to be formed for commercial
exploitation of manganese nodules was the Kennecott group. This
consortium, formed in January 1974, plans a $50 million five-year
research and development program to determine the feasibility of
mining ferromanganese nodules from the deep seabed and extracting
metals from them. 15 The operation will be managed by Kennecott
Copper Corp. which has a 50 percent interest in the venture. A por-
tion of Kennecott's interest is derived from the value assigned to its
prior experience in deep seabed mining. The group is composed of
two British firms, Rio Tinto Zinc Corp. with 20 percent interest and
Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd. with 10 percent interest, the Japanese
Mitsubishi Corp. with 10 percent interest and Noranda Mines Ltd.
of Canada with 10 percent. A loan of up to $1.8 million has been
offered to the British firms by the British government to be repaid
when the venture first becomes commercial.
The second U.S. firm to announce participation in an international
consortium to mine ferromanganese nodules was Tenneco's Deepsea
Ventures, Inc. The initial members of this consortium were all Japa-
nese trading firms: Nichimen Co., Ltd., C. Itoh and Co., Ltd., and
Kanematsu-Gosho, Ltd. 16 The Consortium was reorganized in Novem-
ber 1974 to provide a wider base of international support. Two new
members included Essex Iron Co. (wholly owned by United States
Steel) and Union Mines, Inc. (wholly owned by Union Miniere, S.A.
of Belgium). Ownership is set up as follows: private investors in
Deepsea Ventures to have 5 percent ; Tenneco to divide the remaining
95 percent equally four ways (if all options are exercised) among
itself, the two new members, and Japan Manganese Nodule Develop-
M Ocean Science News. Mar. 21, 1975, p. 1
" Ibid., p. 1.
18 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 3, Feb. 4, 1974, pp. 1-2.
M Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 9, May 13, 1974, p. 1.
ment Co., Ltd. (Jamco), which was set up by four Japanese com-
panies. The agreement is to jointly assess a selected Pacific Ocean
nodule deposit, scale-up and test mining and processing systems, and
market-test the products recovered. The marketing program will be
aimed at the signing of purchasing agreements prior to any commit-
ment to begin a full-scale, commercial mining operation. Deepsea
Ventures is to handle the mining and processing. The national groups
will use proportionate shares of the metals in their respective domestic
economies or worldwide trade. The total project is expected to cost
approximately $200 million from development and evaluation through
commercial operation. It is estimated that as many as 10 mining
units, each with a capacity of a million tons per year, could be
operating in the 1980's. 17 Recent reports indicate that the Japanese
are dropping out of this consortium and that Tennaco is reducing its
The CLB Group also involves U.S. firms. This group, involving
about 20 major companies in six countries, is a joint effort to develop a
$5-million CLB system to full production. 18 The CLB Group was
initially organized in 1971 and has been reorganized several times since.
Participants in the CLB Group include Nippon and the Sumitomo In-
dustries in Japan, France's Societe Le Nickel and CNEXO, Australia's
Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) steel and oil group, Canada's Inter-
national Nickel Co. (INCO), Dome Mines, Placer Mining, Teck
Corp., Noranda Mines Ltd., and Cominco Ltd., and a German combine
of Preussag AG, Metallgesellschaft AG and Salzgitter AG. U.S. firms
participating include Ethyl Corp., Occidental Minerals, Phelps-Dodge,
N.L. Industries, Superior Oil, Utah International, U.S. Steel, General
Crude Oil, and Atlantic Richfield Oil. The consortium is managed by
Dr. John L. Mero, president of Ocean Resources, Inc., of La Jolla,
California. According to Dr. Mero, "The CLB aim is to get the system
running on a full production basis to see what the costs and problems
are by 1975. If everything looks good, then the group would break up
and the individual companies would go their own ways in mining
efforts.". 19 This type of consortium which will not continue through
full-scale commercial production is a departure from the other
Another international consortium for deep seabed nodule mining
was formed early in 1975 by International Nickel Co. of Canada Ltd.
(INCO) with its U.S. subsidiary, The International Nickel Co. Inc.,
the West German AMR group consisting of Metallgesellschaft AG,
Preussag AG, Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke AG, and Salzgitter AG,
and the Japanese group organized under the name Deep Ocean Min-
ing Co. Ltd. (DOMCO) which represents six firms from the Sumi-
tomo combine, Ataka and Co. Ltd., Tovo Menka Kaisha Ltd., Maur-
beni Corp., Kvokuvo Co. Ltd., Dowa Mining Co. Ltd., Nijvson Mining
Co. Ltd., Shinko Electric Co., Nissho-Iwai Ltd., Tokvo Rope Manu-
facturing Co. Ltd., and Mitsui OSK Alliance Ltd. 20 Another U.S.
participant, Sedco Inc.. joined the consortium later in the year. Each
group will have an eoual interest in the project.
The agreement calls for the parties to proceed with design and de-
velopment work to determine the economic and technical feasibility
"Pppp-Ocpan Minincr Tnkes a Stpn Ahend. Ocean Industry, March 1975, p. 82.
18 Oceanography Newsletter, v. 9, No. 12, June 24, 1974, pp. 1-2.
•*m&. p. 1.
*° Ocean Science News, Apr. 11, 1975, p. 1.
of deep sea nodule mining. If results are favorable, the consortium
will progress to commercial-scale mining and recovery of metals from
manganese nodules. Most of the members of this consortium have been
participants in the CLB Group.
More than 100 companies around the world are now engaged in vari-
ous aspects of exploiting mineral resources from the ocean floor. Some
of the major foreign nodule mining interests are listed below. These
firms represent a spectrum ranging from mining companies and engi-
neering firms to trading firms and banks. Most of these firms are now
involved in joint ventures either nationally or with international
Australia : Broken Hill Proprietary.
Belgium : Union Minere.
International Nickel Company.
Noranda Mines Ltd.
Federal Republic of Germany :
Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke A.G.
Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans (CNEXO).
Societe Le Nickel.
Great Britain :
Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd.
Rio Tinto Zinc Corp.
Japan : So far 33 Japanese firms have joined various international or national
consortia to engage in deep seabed mining activities. Some of the principal
firms are :
Ataka and Co. Ltd.
C. Itoh and Co., Ltd.
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank.
Dowa Mining Co. Ltd.
Hitachi Shipbuilding and Engineering.
Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd.
Kokuyo Co. Ltd.
Mitsui Osk Alliance Ltd.
Nichimen Co., Ltd.
Nijyson Mining Co. Ltd.
Shinko Electric Co.
Sumitomo Metal Mining.
Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machinery.
Tokyo Rope Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Toyo Menka Kaisha Ltd.
Problems in Determining the Economic Impact of Nodule
Commercial mining of manganese nodules will have a significant
impact on the world metals market. In attempting to assess the extent
of this impact and project long range forecasts, several problems are
The economic impact of nodule mining is dependent on several
variables including the establishment of an international authority or
legal framework, size of operations, metal production per ton of
nodules, and timing of commercial operations. The amount of profit
derived by the industry will determine to a fair extent the rate of
development and subsequent impact of nodule mining. Since a com-
mercial nodule industry is not yet an ongoing reality and the methodol-
ogy is not yet proven under full scale prolonged operations, there is
some question as to how attractive the economic returns will be. Al-
though industry spokesmen are generally optimistic about the profits
of nodule mining, hazards and technical difficulties are numerous.
establishing an international authority
The establishment of a favorable international regime for deep
seabed exploitation will also influence the extent and timing of the
economic impact of nodule mining. In the last five years, several
proposals for a new treaty on ocean resources have been submitted
to the United Nations, and the member nations have been actively pre-
paring for, and finally participating in, the third U.N. Law of the Sea
Conference. Pending conclusion of a workable system, companies have
been hesitant to invest the amounts of money necessary to proceed to
commercial operations without some assurance of security for their
investment. Any projection of a time scale for future metal production
from nodules would have to assume the establishment of an interna-
tional regime or reasonably secure and profitable investment climate in
order to make realistic estimates. In a recent United Nations report on
the economic implications of deep seabed mineral development, pro-
jections of metal production from nodules were made based on the
assumption that an internationally agreed legal framework will come
into force by 1976. 21 However, unless there is more substantive progress
at further sessions of the Law of the Sea Conference, many observers
feel that such an assumption would be very optimistic.
size or operation
Another factor that will influence the economic impact of a nodule
mining industry is the size of the industry. As in most manufacturing
or processing operations, there is an economy of scale. That is, there
is a point up to which the unit cost is reduced by scaling up the size of
the operation. For manganese nodules the economies of scale are much
greater for the processing stage. This means that the unit costs
probablv still decrease for plant sizes capable of processing up to 3
to 4 million tons of dry nodules per year. On the other hand, hydraulic
or air-lift nodule recovery systems apparently reach their optimum
size at a capacity of 5,000 to 10,000 tons of wet nodules per day. This
would provide a processing plant with 1 to 2.millJQn ton$ of dry
-^UoitQd Nations, A/GONT. .62/25,. op. cit., p. ?6.
nodules per year. Consequently, a mining company may be expected
to operate 2 or 3 mining rigs and a plant designed to process 3 to 4
million tons per year. However, Deepsea Ventures, which intends to
produce high purity manganese for which the world market is rela-
tively small, initially plans a plant of only about 1 million tons of
nodules per year.
METAL PRODUCTION PER TON OF NODULES
Processing techniques and grade of the nodules will determine the
metal production per ton of nodules which effects the economic impact.
Industry sources have generally indicated that the minimum metal
enrichment for a nodule deposit to be economically profitable is on
the order of 2 to 2.5 percent combined copper and nickel. High cobalt
values could lower the acceptable copper plus nickel grade if a com-
pany were more interested in marketing cobalt. The amount of metal
recovered depends on the efficiency of the metallurgical process de-
veloped. Indications at present are that industry may obtain yields
on the order of 90 to 95 percent of the major metals from the nodules.
Trace metals such as molybdenum, vanadium, zinc, silver, the platinum
group, etc., may be recovered at slightly lower yields on the order
of 80 percent. Table 5 is a projection by the United Nations for metal
production per million tons of nodules. These projections assume an
average metal content that may be somewhat higher than a typical
commercial grade deposit would assay. From public comments of in-
dustry spokesmen, commercial deposits may average 28 percent man-
ganese, 1.25 percent nickel, 1.1 percent copper, and 0.25 percent cobalt.
An average metallurgical recovery efficiency of 95 percent may also be
more likely initially. Using these figures a one million ton per year
operation might be expected to produce 252,000 tons of manganese.
11.900 tons of nickel, 10,500 tons copper, and 2,400 tons cobalt. In
terms of 1973 U.S. imports, a one million ton per year plant (the mini-
mum size likely) could provide approximately 6 percent of nickel im-
ports, 2.5 percent of copper imports, and 19 percent of cobalt imports.
Comparisons of nodule production to manganese imports are generally
misleading because most manganese imports are not converted to the
higher value higher purity metal which would be the product of
TABLE 5.— ESTIMATED METAL PRODUCTION PER MILLION TONS OF HIGH GRADE NODULES (METRIC TONS)
Metal content Approximate metal
per weight of production per mil-
dry nodules lion tons of dry
Metal (in percent) nodules (in tons) l
Manganese (if recovered) 24. 230, 000
Nickel 1.6 15,000
Copper 1.4 13,000
Cobalt .21 2,000
Other metals .3 2, 500
> Assuming 95 percent metallurgical recovery except for trace metals where an 80 percent rate is assumed.
Source: Ibid., p. 28.
Another estimate of metal recovery from nodules by U.S. mining
interests in 1985 was prepared by Robert Nathan Associates for the
Senate Committee on Commerce, National Ocean Policy Study
(Table 6). This study assumed entry into commercial operation of one
U.S. mining firm of one million tons annual capacity and two firms
each of 3 million tons annual recovery for a total of 7 million tons per
year. The firm with the smaller recovery (Deepsea Ventures) would
be the only U.S. mining interest recovering manganese. The recovery
efficiency of the major metals by this firm was projected at 95 percent.
The recovery efficiency of the other firms was projected someAvhat
lower at 80 percent.
TABLE 6. ESTIMATED 1985 RECOVERY OF METALS BY U.S. DEEP-OCEAN MINING ENTERPRISES,
AND VALUE AT 1973 PRICES
Approximate average content in initially mined ore
Deep-sea ventures— 1,000,000 tons of ore:
Recoverable metal (tons) per 100 tons of ore
percent recovery rate
Tons of metal recovered (thousands)
Other operations— 6,000,000 tons of ore: 1
Percent of metal recovered
Recoverable metal (tons) per 100 tons of ore.
Tons of metal recovered (thousands)
Total tons of metal recovered (thousands)
Price per ton (dollars)(1973) 2
Gross value at 1973 prices (millions of dollars)
1 Original data from "Manganese Nodules (11): Prospects for Deep-sea Mining," Science, Feb. 15, 1974, pp. 644-646.
2 U.S. Bureau of Mines, Commodity Data Summaries, 1974.
Source: U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce, national ocean policy study. The Economic Value of Ocean
Resources to the United States. Committee Print, 93d Cong. 2d sess. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C ,
1974, p. 21.
TIMING OF NODULE OPERATIONS
The time schedule for entry of companies into commercial nodule
mining operations will influence the economic impact of metals from
the deep seabed. As each company enters the commercial phase, the
total amount of metals extracted will increase. However, at this time
any definite schedule of events is purely speculative. No commercial-
scale processing facilities are under construction and full-scale mining
operations are not likely to begin much in advance of the completion
of the processing plant. Even if full-scale mining equipment were
completed, tested, and utilized to stockpile nodules, the world metals
market would not be affected until the nodules were processed. Due to
the lag time in design and construction, it does not appear likely that
full-scale processing will begin before 1979 or 1980. Assuming no major
delays from technical problems or an international authority, a world
wide production of 15 million metric tons of dry nodules could be
reached by 1985. - 23 Production from consortia involving U.S. firms
could be expected to account for half that total or about 7 million tons
(assuming 2 operations of 3 million tons each and one operation of i
22 United Nations. A/CONF 62/65, op. cit., p. 31.
23 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Mineral resources
of the deep seabed. Hearings before the Subcomittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on
S. 1134. 93d Congress. 1st session. May 17. June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. Washington.
D.C, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1973, 768. p. 201-221.
Economic Impact of Nodule Mining
In attempting to predict the economic impact of nodule mining,
variables other than the future metal production from nodules must be
considered. Two such variables are the future metal production from
traditional sources and projected demand for these metals. Supply and
demand are also related to price. One method of assessing the economic
impact of nodule mining is to estimate the degree of market penetra-
tion or share of the market each metal produced from nodules is likely
to have. The assumption is made that supply will equal total
Projections of demand for the four major metals recovered from
manganese nodules vary widely from one source to another. Projections
compiled for the House Subcommittee on Oceanography by the Con-
gressional Research Service are presented in Table 7. 24 Unless new uses
for cobalt can be found, demand for this metal is likely to remain small.
Output from nodule mining could significantly affect the cobalt
market. By 1985 U.S. nationals recovering 7 million tons of dry nodules
would be able to satisfy nearly two-thirds of projected U.S. needs for
cobalt and more than one-third of world demand.
24 U.S. Congress. House. Commitee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Deep seabed hard
minerals. Hearings before the Subcommitee on Oceanography on H.R. 9 and H.R. 7732.
93d Cong. Mar. 1, 28, 29, Apr. 3, 1973, and H.R. 12233 Feb. 26, 27, 28, 1974. Washington,
D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 1974, p. 347.
O ID O O
OCVJ <X> O
csj r~ us R.*^
r-. oo -<£> oj
:= locsj -=
m 5 a)
According to recent statements by Deepsea Ventures, pure manga-
nese metal will not be recovered from nodules but other high purity
forms of manganse will be produced. The demand for high purity
forms of manganese of greater value than high carbon ferromanga-
nese is relatively low, although greater than the demand for pure man-
ganese metal. One U.S. firm with the capability to produce one million
tons (dry weight) of nodules per year intending to market manganese
in the form of low or medium carbon ferromanganese could more than
satisfy the projected U.S. demand in 1985 and approximately equal the
U.S. demand in 2000. If the silicomanganese market were also entered,
a larger manganese production could be marketed. In any event, the
impact on the markets for these forms of manganese would be signifi-
cant, but there would be relatively little impact on the much larger
manganese ore and high carbon ferromanganese markets.
The markets for copper and nickel are large enough that they will
likely not be significantly affected by nodule mining in 1985. If U.S.
mining ventures recovered 5 million tons of dry nodules per year, they
would supply 18 percent of the projected U.S. demand for nickel in
1985 and only 1.5 percent of the U.S. demand for copper.
In projecting the value of metals processed from nodules to the
U.S. economy in 1985 and 2000, the report for the National Ocean Pol-
icy Study determined a value of $387 million by 1985 and $835 million
by 2000 (Table 8). This projection assumed production of metallic
manganese and a drop in the price of cobalt and manganese metal com-
pared to Table 6.
-PROJECTED MARKET VALUE OF U.S. PRODUCTION OF METALS FROM MANGANESE NODULES IN 1985
[In 1973 dollars]
Source: The Economic Value of the Ocean Resources to the United States, op. cit., p. 26.
Based on an assumed production of 15 million tons of dry nodules
by 1985, the United Nations forecasted the impact on the world metals
market. The United Nations forecast (Table 9) multiplied the metal
recovery per million tons of dry nodules from Table 5 by 15. This
calculation is valid mainly for nickel and copper which are the major
metals of interest to the nodule industry. In the case of manganese,
only two companies or groups have announced their intent ions to pro-
duce this metal; consequently, estimates of manganese production are
based on only 4 million tons of nodules. Manganese production could
be higher than 920,000 tons if more companies recover the metal. On
the other hand, the market for refined manganese is relatively small
and not likely to be cost competitive with high carbon f erromanganese
used in steelmaking. Consequently, since low purity manganese can-
not compete with land ores and the additional cost of refining manga-
nese from nodules will not justify the return for most companies, man-
ganese production from nodules may be much lower than the U.N.
estimate. Cobalt and minor metals are quite variable in nodules, and
have relatively high concentrations in some deposits. Production of
cobalt and other minor metals could be higher than the U.N. estimates
in Table 9.
TABLE 9.— MANGANESE, NICKEL, COPPER, AND COBALT: PROBABLE PRODUCTION FROM NODULES, ESTIMATED
WORLD DEMAND AND ESTIMATED NET IMPORT REQUIREMENT OF INDUSTRIAL COUNTRIES IN 1985
[Thousand metric tons]
nodules as a
nodules as a
Manganese 2 ..
3 3, 600
1 Assuming that net import requirements would be proportionately the same as in 1972.
2 Manganese recovery is assumed from only 4 million tons of nodules.
3 Excluding the centrally planned economies.
Source: United Nations, A/CONF.62/25, op. cit., p. 42.
A working paper on the economic effects of deep seabed exploitation
was submitted in 1974 by the United States delegation to the law of
the Sea Conference in Caracas. This paper pointed out the interests of
all consumers in encouraging seabed output and the unlikelihood that
the income of existing producers would decrease even with seabed
production. In some respects, this paper was a rebuttal to a few of the
projections made in the recent economic report of the U.N. Secretary-
General. 25 The U.S. working paper tabulated the approximate values
of mineral production from each country and projected these to 1980
and 1985 (Tables 10 and 11). Production from seabed mining was also
estimated for 1980 and 1985. Particular reference is made to the
production from developing countries (Group of 77) which have
expressed great concern for the possible loss of export revenues and
have taken a firm position at the Law of the Sea Conference for
complete U.N. control of seabed mining. An important point high-
lighted in Table 11 is that the projected income of individual land-
based producers from their production of the four metals will increase
significantly between the present and 1985, even with seabed mining.
» United Nations, A/CONF. 62/25, op. cit, 92 p.
TABLE 10.-APPROXIMATE 1971 VALUE OF MINERAL PRODUCTION
[Dollar amounts in millions of 1971 dollars]
II. Group of 77 countiies
III. Other countries
Nongroup of 77:
1, 522 .
Union Soviet Socialist Republic
Group of 77 producers:
1 Note: See bottom Table 11 fcr source and romments.
TABLE ll.-APPROXIMATE VALUE OF MINERAL PRODUCTION »
[Dollar amounts in millions of 1971 dollars]
Group of 77 producers:
1 Countries are listed in rank order of the total value of the four metals in question. The countries listed produce at least
1 percent of the world production of one of the metals listed.
Source: Data is extrapolated from UNCTAD documents TD/B/449/Add 1; TD/B/484; TD/B/483; TD/113/Supp. 4;
document A/Conf.62/25; and U.S. Department of the Interior 1971 "Minerals Yearbook."
Based on recent information regarding participation by U.S. firms
and U.S. subsidiaries of foreign interests in international consortia
and U.S. Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in domestic
demand for the metals contained in nodules. 26 another projection can
be made of the benefit to the United States from nodule mining op-
erations. The Bureau of Mines projections of annual increases in do-
mestic demand through 1980 are extended at the same rate through
1985 and 2000. These projections are: managanese 2 percent, nickel 3
percent, copper 3.5 percent, and cobalt 3 percent. While this extension
is somewhat speculative, it is probably within the acceptable range.
Straight projection of these annual increases in demand lead to esti-
mates of domestic consumption in 1985 of 420,000 short tons of silico-
manganese plus low and medium carbon ferromanganese, 340,000 tons
nickel, 3,400,000 tons copper, and 13,000 tons cobalt. These projections
are generally lower than those cited previously as they place more em-
phasis on current economic conditions. On the other hand, newer pro-
jections by the Bureau of Mines indicate that U.S. demand for some
of these metals by 1985 and the year 2000 may even be lower. 27
All of the international consortia have U.S. participants who control
from approximately 20 to over 50 percent of the consortium. Assuming
recovery rates of 3 million tons of nodules per year for each consortium
(Deepsea Ventures announced in its Notice of Claim, Appendix D,
that it contemplates future recovery of approximately this amount ) ,
the total amount of nodules processed and marketed by U.S. firms in
1985 could range from 4 to 5 million tons (Table 12). An additional
.5 to 1.0 million tons, representing the share of U.S. subsidiaries of
foreign firms, could also be added to the domestic market. Using a
recovery of 5 million tons the following estimates of the percent of
U.S. consumption in 1985 supplied from nodule mining by U.S. in-
terests are made: 95 percent of the domestic demand for low and
medium carbon ferromanganese plus silicoman^anese, nickel 18 per-
cent, copper 1.5 percent, and cobalt 92 percent (Table 13) .
TABLE 12.— PARTICIPATION IN NODULE MINING CONSORTIA BY U.S. INTERESTS AND ESTIMATED
NODULE RECOVERY BY 1985
Company (million tons)
U.S. firms.. 4-5
U.S. subsidiaries .5-1
International Nickel Co.
Total U.S. firms and subsidiaries (million tons) 4. 5-6
In 1985 commercial deep seabed mining would still be in fairly early
stages and could be expected to expand rapidly through the year 2000.
Although highly speculative at this time, nodule recovery by U.S.
interests in the year 2000 is projected here at 10 million tons annually,
M U.S. Bureau of Mines. Community Data Summaries 1976. U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1976.
p. 43. 47, 99, 113.
27 U.S. Bureau of Mines, Mineral Facts and Problems, 1975 edition. In press.
o • o
«> o c 0> = .
E o> £ o C
o> cnj a>
csi cr> cri ori
.22 o Q-°
^5- o o
■a d ro ■
TO C *"
*• O «.
</? w U, o. ™
resulting in reductions in the projected levels of imports of 90 percent
for the manganese materials selected, 31 percent of the nickel imports,
10.4 percent of the copper imported, and cobalt could be produced
for export if not substituted for nickel in some uses to further reduce
These estimates are based on those companies that at this point
in time are probably the most likely U.S. interests to be participating
in commercial nodule mining operations by 1985. The U.S. partici-
pants in the CLB Group are not included, as that consortium was
formed for exploration and development only, but not for commercial
exploitation as a joint venture. However, the U.S. participants in the
CLB Group may join consortia not yet announced, or existing con-
sortia and, consequently, might also be involved in commercial nodule
mining operations by 1985. Lockheed has developed nodule mining
and processing systems, but the future role of Lockheed in deep sea-
bed mining is still uncertain, However, it is assumed that if the invest-
ment security is favorable enough for other U.S. firms to enter into
commercial nodule recovery, Lockheed will probably also be able to
attract financing and possibly other U.S. firms as partners. For these
reasons the estimates of metals recovered from nodules by U.S. firms
in 1985 arrived at a Table 13 may be minimum amounts. The projec-
tions to the year 2000 assume roughly a doubling of the 1985 level of
nodule recovery by U.S. interests.
Imports of manganese ore and standard (high carbon) ferromanga-
nese account for the bulk of the U.S. demand for manganese and these
imports would not likely be reduced by more than a few percent as
the manganese materials produced from nodules would not compete
in these lower priced markets. Based on 1975 prices, the above projec-
tion of nodule mining could supply the United States with approxi-
mately $0.8 billion per year in metals by the year 2000. Nodule mining
by other countries or foreign shares in consortia could likely total
three to five times this amount per year by then.
Over 40 percent of the nickel consumed is used in stainless steel
alloys to increase strength and corrosion resistance. Nickel-alloy steels
are used in high temperature applications such as jet engines and tur-
bines. Other uses include electroplating, resistance alloys in electrical
equipment, pollution control equipment, chemical industry, and pe-
troleum refining. World-wide consumption has increased at an average
rate of about 6.5 percent per year over the last 25 years and prospects
for a continued annual increase of at least 6 percent are likely. 28
In 1974, 73 percent of the U.S. demand for nickel was supplied by
imports (Fig. 15). Consumption was reported at 273,000 short tons
(including scrap) . During the period 1971-74 the major import sources
were : Canada 68 percent, Norway 8 percent, New Caledonia 6 percent,
Dominican Republic 5 percent, and others 13 percent (Norway's raw
material was nickel-copper matte from Canada). 29 The United States
produces only about 7 percent of its nickel requirements and recycles
» United Nations A/CONF. 62/25, op. cit., p. 34.
29 U.S. Bureau of Mines. Commodity Data Summaries 1976, U.S. Govt. Print. Office,
Washington, D.C. 1976, p. 112.
about 24 percent from scrap. Consumer stocks are estimated at 37,000
short tons of metal. Nickel is not currently stockpiled by the U.S.
U.S. Bureau of Mines projections indicate domestic demand for
nickel is expected to increase at an annual rate of about 3 percent
through 1980. 30 Domestic production is expected to remain at the level
set in the last 5 years. Barring unforeseen shortages and future cartels
(see section on possible cartel action) supplies should be available
from relatively secure foreign sources at prices comparable to those
now prevailing. In 1972. the United States imported 24.6 percent of
the world nickel production and produced 2.4 percent. World mine
production and reserves are given in Table 14.
TABLE 14.— WORLD MINE PRODUCTION AND NICKEL RESERVES (SHORT TONS OF NICKEL)
Grade of ore
9, 600, 000
26, 000, 000
16, 100, 000
3, 400, 000
4, 200, 000
Other market economy countries
Central economy countries
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, op. cit., p. 113.
There would appear to be no world supply problem to the year 2000
since the probable reserves at current prices are three times the proba-
ble cumulative demand. Supply is concentrated in a few industrialized
countries. Canada, the Soviet Union, and France (New Caledonia)
accounted for 74 percent of the world mine production in 1972. Devel-
oping countries produced less than 13 percent of the world total in
1972 but their output has been increasing. Developing countries may
be assumed to produce as much as 20 percent of the world's nickel by
Using the assumptions it developed, the U.N. report (A/CONF.62/
25) estimated that world nickel production from nodules might ac-
count for about 18 percent of the total demand by 1985, Table 9.
This degree of market penetration may depress prices somewhat but
may not seriously affect traditional producers. High cost projects
may not be developed. The working paper of the U.S. delegation
to the Law of the Sea Conference pointed out that even with seabed
mining, land based production will need to increase nearly 70 percent
from the 1972 production level to meet anticipated demand by 1985.
The U.S. working paper suggests that such a large increase in demand
can be expected to result in increased prices such that a number of
high cost land deposits which were marginal may become economically
feasible. Furthermore, 30 percent of the increase in land production
would come from developing countries.
30 Ibid., p. 113.
» United Nations. A/CONF.62/25, op. cit., p. M.
65-675 O - 76
MAJOR FOREIGN SOURCES
ALUMINUM (ores & metal)
PLATINUM GROUP METALS
PETROLEUM (mc. Nat. Gas l.q.)
0* 3514 50
L , ■ 1 1
* 75% IOC
»- m^mamm^ j
?1 ™ B "" B
MEXICO. UK. SPAIN
BRAZIL. MALAYSIA, ZAIRE
INDIA. BRAZIL. MALAGASY
ZAIRE. BELGIUM- LUXEMBOURG. FINLAN J. NORWAY. CAN AOA
BRAZIL, GABON. SOUTH AFRICA, ZAIRE
USSR. SOUTH AFRICA. TURKEY, PHILIPPINES
AUSTRALIA, CANADA. ZAIRE. BRAZIL
JAMAICA. AUSTRALIA, SURINAM, CANADA
CANADA. SOUTH AFRICA
UK. USSR. SOUTH AFRICA
MALAYSIA. THAILAND, BOLIVIA
MEXICO. SPAIN. ITALY
CANAOA. ALGERIA. MEXICO. SPAIN
PERU. MEXICO. JAPAN, UK
CANADA. SWITZERLAND. USSR
CANADA. MEXICO. PERU, HONDURAS
CANADA. JAPAN. MEXICO
CANAOA. MEXICO. PERU. AUSTRALIA. JAPAN
CANADA, BOLIVIA. PERU, THAILAND
MEXICO. CANADA. AUSTRALIA, JAPAN
SOUTH AFRICA. MEXICO. P.R. CHINA, BOLIVIA
IRELAND. PERU. MEXICO
SOUTH AFRICA. CHILE. USSR
CANAOA. MEXICO. JAMAICA
CANAOA. VENEZUELA. NIGERIA. NETHERLANDS ANTI.. IRAN
CANAOA. VENEZUELA, JAPAN. COMMON MARKET lEECI
CANAOA. PERU. AUSTRALIA. MEXICO
CANAOA, PERU. CHILE, SOUTH AFRICA
CANAOA. MEXICO. 8AHAMAS. CHILE
GREECE. IRELAND, AUSTRIA
CANAOA. BAHAMAS. NORWAY. UK
Figure 15.— IMPORTS SUPPLIED SIGNIFICANT PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL
U.S. DEMAND IN 1974
Source: U.S. Bureau of Mines. Minerals and Materials/a monthly survey. U.S. Govt.
Print. Office, Washington, D.C., December 1975, p. 6.
Because of its electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance, copper
is used extensively in electrical equipment, wire, tubing and sheeting,
and in alloys. World wide demand for copper has been increasing at
an average annual rate of 5 percent for the past 2 decades. Prospects
for a continued increase in demand on the order of 4 to 5 percent per
year are considered good through the end of the century. 32 Copper is
mined in 56 countries. Industrial countries are the largest producers
and consumers with 46 percent of the total mined in 1972 coming from
the United States, Canada, and the Soviet Union. Developing coun-
tries are the leading exporters, producing 42 percent of the 1972 world
mine tonnage. In 1972, the United States produced 23 percent of the
world production of copper and imported 2.4 percent of the world
In 1974, 18 percent of the U.S. demand for copper was supplied
from imports. Consumption was reported at 2,194,000 short tons and
252,000 tons were released from the Government stockpile in 1974.
w Ibid. p. 36.
During the period 1971-74 major import sources were : Canada 33 per-
cent, Peru 22 percent, Chile 17 percent, Republic of South Africa 6
percent, and others 22 percent. 33 Approximately 20 percent of the cop-
per consumed by the United States in 1974 was recycled from scrap.
Producer stocks of refined copper are estimated by the Bureau of Mines
at about 45,000 tons. Under authorization to dispose of the entire
amount, the Government stockpile of copper was reduced close to zero
in 1974. Sources of supply for the United States are relatively secure.
Shortages of copper relative to demand in the United States have devel-
oped in the past due to a number of factors including: (1) A surge in
world demand, (2) disruptions of production in Chile, Canada, and
Belgium, (3) some curtailment in domestic output to meet air quality
standards, (4) transport problems in Canada and Zambia, and (5) the
effect of U.S. economic controls coupled with increasing world prices.
A summary of world production and copper reserves is listed in
TABLE 15.— WORLD MINE PRODUCTION AND COPPER RESERVES
[In thousands of short tons of copper]
Peru . ..
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, op. cit., p. 47.
The Bureau of Mines estimates hypothetical resources, located near
known deposits, probably contain an additional 480 million tons of
copper and a speculative 320 million tons is assigned to areas not yet
prospected. It would appear that copper produced from manganese
nodules would have only a minimal effect on copper supply and no
effect on price.
At an increase in demand of 4 to 5 percent per annum as projected
in the U.N. Secretary-General's report, world production would
amount to nearly 15 million short tons or roughly twice current pro-
duction by 1985. Consequently, nodule production is expected to have
a very minor impact on the copper market, yielding only 200,000 tons
or 1.3 percent of the total consumption (Table 9). Imports of copper
by the industrial countries are likely to remain at around one-third of
their consumption by 1985. The U.S. Bureau of Mines projects domes-
tic demand for copper to increase at an average annual growth rate of
3.5 percent through 1980.
More than 90 percent of the world production of manganese is used
in steel making primarily as a scavenger for removing sulfur, oxygen,
88 Commodity Data Summaries 1975, op. cit., p. 44.
and trace impurities. Used as an alloy, manganese makes steel more
resistant to shock or abrasion. Metallurgical ore and ferromanganese
are the manganese materials most commonly used in steel making. The
market for high purity forms of manganese is relatively small. Be-
cause of processing difficulties, high purity forms of manganese are
the only forms of manganese expected to he marketed from nodules.
All of the manganese consumed in the United States in 1974 was
either imported or released from government stockpile. Domestic pro-
duction ceased in 1970 and there is essentially no recycling of manga-
nese metal. During the period 1971-74 the major import sources of
manganese ore were : Brazil 35 percent, Gabon 31 percent, Australia 9
percent. Republic of South Africa 8 percent, and others 17 percent.
During the same period import sources of ferromanganese were:
France 39 percent, Republic of South Africa 36 percent. India 8
percent, and others 17 percent. Total producer and consumer stocks
are estimated by the Bureau of Mines to be about 1,500,000 short
tons of manganese ore, which typically ranges from 35 to 54 percent
manganese, and 250,000 tons of ferromanganese at 74 to 95 percent
manganese. Industrial consumption in the United States in 1974 was
1,880,000 tons of manganese ore and 1,115,000 tons of ferromanganese.
With regard to the manganese materials in the price range of materials
that would likely be produced from nodules, U.S. consumption of low
and medium carbon ferromanganese was 159,659 short tons in 1974
and consumption of silicomanganese was 177,166 short tons. The
Bureau of Mines estimates domestic demand for manganese will
increase at an annual rate of approximately 2 percent through 1980.
Several manganese materials are inventoried in the Government
stockpile (Table 16). Assuming a requirement of 13 pounds of manga-
nese per ton of raw steel produced, and an annual steel production of
120 million tons, the amount in the Government stockpile can be cal-
culated to last about 3 years. World mine production and reserves
are given in Table 17. Reserves alone are more than adequate to meet
expected world demand for the balance of the century. Known land-
based resources are very large and irregularly distributed throughout
the world. The Bureau of Mines estimates U.S. resources could satisfy
expected domestic demand for manganese to the year 2000. However,
because these resources are much more expensive to process than
foreign ores, domestic production has ceased.
TABLE 16.— STOCKPILE STATUS— NOV. 30. 1975
Type A ore
Type B ore
Source: Ibid., p. 96.
TABLE 17.-W0RLD MINE PRODUCTION AND MANGANESE RESERVES
[in thousands of short tons of manganese]
Country 1974 1975 » Reserves
Australia 1,678 1,800 330,000
Brazil 2,000 2,000 95,000
Gabon.... 2,357 2,400 210,000
India.. 1,595 1,500 65,000
South Africa, Republic of 4,129 4,500 2,200,000
Other market economy countries.. 1,716 1,600 30,000
Central economy countries 10,700 11,000 3,000,000
Worldtotal 24,175 24,800 6,000,000
Source: Commodity Data Summaries 1976, p. 99.
Demand for manganese is considered relatively stable and not likely
to increase rapidly with increased supplies. The U.N. Secretary-Gen-
eral's report expects manganese demand to continue to increase at
about 5 percent per year reaching approximately 16.4 million tons of
manganese-in-ore by 1985. Estimates of manganese production from
nodules are tenuous, but assuming recovery of 920.000 tons by 1985
as estimated by the U.N. report, this would amount to 5.6 percent of
the estimated world demand of manganese in ore. However, since
manganese from nodules is expected to be marketed only as premium
priced manganese materials, this amount of production would approxi-
mately satisfy the world demand for these materials. Only if the pure
metal could be marketed at a price competitive with standard high
carbon ferromanganese would greater production from nodules be
Developing countries currently produce about 56 percent of the
world's manganese. According to the Secretary-General's report these
countries may be expected to feel a significant impact from nodule
mining. However, as the U.S. working paper pointed out. the Secre-
tary-General's report failed to fully consider the uses of manganese
and the market for manganese metal (primarily the small likelihood
that ferromanganese from nodules would significantly replace high
carbon ferromanganese or manganese ore in steelmaking). It seems un-
likely that the assumption in the Secretary-General's report of a sig-
nificant impact on land-based manganese producers from nodule min-
ing will be realized. The only country where manganese is a significant
export factor is Gabon, where it is 20 percent of the total value of the
exports. Manganese represents 2 percent or less of the value of the ex-
ports from each of the other developing country producers (Brazil.
India, Zaire, Ghana, and Morocco).
Cobalt has important magnetic and chemical properties, and is
resistant to high temperatures. Although it is used in a variety of
industrial products, it has a relatively small market. At lower prices,
cobalt could substitute for a number of other metals such as nickel in
a variety of uses. Cobalt is primarily produced as a by-product of
copper and nickel refining.
Imports supplied over 98 percent of the U.S. demand for cobalt in
1974. U.S. consumption totaled 9,431 short tons. Shipments from gov-
ernment stockpiles were reported at 4,468 short tons and 135 short tons
or a little over one percent of the domestic cobalt consumption was re-
covered from scrap. Domestic mine production ceased in 1971. The
major import sources during the period 1971-74 were: Zaire 47 per-
cent, Belgium-Luxembourg 29 percent, Finland 7 percent, Norway 7
percent, Canada 4 percent, Zambia 2 percent, and others 4 percent. The
U.S. Bureau of Mines estimates consumer stocks of about 1,000 tons of
metal. The Government stockpile status report for November 30, 1975,
listed an objective of 5,972 tons of cobalt with a total inventory of
23,448 tons and an excess of 17,476 tons. At a consumption rate of
9,000 tons per year, the stockpile inventory would yield less than a
3-year supply and the objective would last 8 months. The U.S. demand
for cobalt is projected by the Bureau of Mines to increase about 2.6
percent per year through 1980.
World mine production and reserves are summarized in Table 18.
Two-thirds of the world's production comes from Zaire; however,
increasing amounts are expected to come from other countries such
as the Philippines, Australia, New Caledonia, Canada, and Zambia.
Present land reserves are twice the cumulative world demand to the
year 2000. The identified cobalt resources of the United States are
estimated by the Bureau of Mines at more than 840,000 tons and
world resources at more than 5,000,000 tons.
-WORLD MINE PRODUCTION AND COBALT RESERVES
[In tons of cobalt]
Grade of ore
New Caledonia and Australia *...
190, 000 0. 03-0. 06
740, 000 0. 1-5.
750, 000 0. 3-2.
Other market economy countries
380, 000 0. 05-0. 25
25, 000 0. 1
Central economy countries
l 600, 000 0. 07-0. 1
According to the projections in the Secretary-General's report,
world demand for cobalt is expected to increase 6 to 8 percent per year
through 1985. From this, the report concludes that world demand may
reach 60,000 tons by 1985 with 30,000 tons recovered from nodules.
Consequently, the price will start falling once cobalt recovered from
nodules reaches the market. Cobalt produced from domestic mining
operations, recovering a total of 7 million tons of nodules per year,
would assure a domestic source for all the U.S. needs to the year 2000.
Long-Term Economic Prospects of Nodule Mining
Sustained long-term development of the nodule industry will de-
pend on its position relative to other sources of metal supply such as*
recycling and land mining. Technological developments, possible insti-
tutional constraints, and market conditions all affect the relative com-
petitive position of metals supply. Industry sources indicate that the
first generation of nodule mining will likely be very profitable. Once
the industry expands into a second generation of investment and tech-
nology, possible declines in revenues may not be offset by reductions
in cost. Once a metal becomes abundant, its price will fall to the level
of its most important substitute.
If half of the world demand is supplied from nodule mining by
1985, cobalt is likely to be one of the first price casualties. Its price
would eventually fall to the price level of nickel. High purity man-
ganese materials are also vulnerable. One nodule operation of one
million tons per year could supply a large fraction of the projected
world demand for premium manganese materials by 1980. If this
amount of high purity manganese could be marketed economically, it
would likely cause the substitution of premium manganese materials in
other uses as the price fell. Molybdenum may also be supplied from
nodules in great abundance relative to demand. Possibly declining
prices of cobalt, manganese, and molybdenum are not expected to
affect severely the profitability of the nodule mining industry. Profits
will be based mainly on nickel and copper. Nickel and copper from
nodules would least affect their world markets and would remain the
long-term profit basis of the nodule mining industry.
Although not precisely known, the extent of the world-wide ferro-
manganese nodule reserves bears mention. Reserves are currently
estimated to be on the order of 1.5 trillion tons in the Pacific Ocean
alone. 34 Unlike many resources, ferromanganese nodules are currently
forming. The rate of formation in the Pacific Ocean has been estimated
at 6 to 10 million tons per year. 35 Most of the nodules are not economi-
cally minable. Consequently, the minable reserves are probably on the
order of 10 billion to 500 billion tons. 36 For comparison, future mining
operations could be expected to recover 15 to 20 million tons per year
by the end of the next decade. One estimate of the reserves of metals
in manganese nodules of the Pacific Ocean and the number of years
these might last at the consumption rate of 1960 is given in Table 19.
34 Mero, J. L. Potential economic value of ocean-floor manganese nodule deposits. In
Ferromanganese Deposit* on the Ocean Floor, Horn, D. R., ed., IDOE, National Science
Foundation, Washington, D.C. 1972 : 191-203.
35 Time, July 29, 1974. p. 57.
M Mero, op. cit., p. 202.
TABLE 19.-RESERVES OF METALS IN MANGANESE NODULES OF THE PACIFIC OCEAN
in 1960 *
of tons per
of tons per
of tons) »
2, 000, 000
1 All tonnages in metric units.
2 Amount available in the nodules divided by the consumption rate.
3 Calculated as the element in metric tons. (From U.S. Bureau of Mines Bulletin 556).
4 Calculated as the element in metric tons.
5 Present reserves so large as to be essentially unlimited at present rates of consumption.
6 Including deposits of iron that are at present considered marginal.
Source: Mero, op. cit., p. 196.
VI. GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES
Government involvement in deep ocean mining can be grouped into
three major categories. The most common activities are: (1) direct
sponsorship or funding of research and development: (2) direct ven-
ture in mining or processing; and (3) indirect sponsorship through
use of government facilities, taxation advantages, or university aid.
Government activity in nodule research in the United States has
been carried out by the Bureau of Mines, the U.S. Geological Survey,
the Xational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
the Naval Research Laboratory, and the National Science Foundation.
Some of the research programs have been discussed previously. The
research effort of the Bureau of Mines has involved recovery of metals
from nodules. The interests of the U.S. Geological Survey in the deep
seabed have been directed mainly toward assessing the mineral poten-
tial of nodule deposits and determining their composition and origin.
Recently, on February 25, 1975, the Department of Interior announced
the formation of an Ocean Mining Administration to develop plans
for regulating U.S. ocean mining companies. The research funded by
XOAA primarily involves environmental concerns. The Xaval Re-
search Laboratory is developing underwater photographic techniques
and improved camera technology to provide greater capabilities for
future exploration. The Xational Science Foundation is sponsoring
participation by the United States in the International Decade of
Ocean Exploration (IDOE). The funding for the IDOE ferroman-
ganese nodule program is mainly being distributed to universities and
institutions for research in nodule formation and chemistry.
Foreign Government Activities
Several countries are actively interested or engaged in ferroman-
ganese nodule mining. The following is a brief summary of activities
reported in recent years.
Australia's Bureau of Mineral Resources has been conducting re-
search on manganese nodules. The naval vessel R/V Diamantina was
used to dredge for nodules along a 200-mile stretch of the 39th parallel
in June 1972. 1
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
The government of the Federal Republic of Germany supported a
joint venture, of Preussag and Metallgesellschaft in 1969 to study and
1 ECAFE, Report of the Committee for Co-ordination of Joint Prospecting for Mineral
7£ 8 ,V£ C ?2 i n South Paci A c Off-shore Areas. (CCOP/SOPAC), 1st session, November 1972
(H//C.N.11/L.343), 1972, p. 34.
explore for manganese nodules. Preussage, Metallgesellschaft, Salzgit-
ter and Rheinisehe Braunkohlenwerke formed Arbeitsgemeinschaft
Meerestechnischgewinnbare Rohstoffe (AMR) to carry out explora-
tion cruises in the Pacific under government subsidy. The West Ger-
man government provided funds to charter Deepsea Venture's R/V
Prospector in 1970 and 1971. Since private firms converted a stern
trawler to the nodule exploration, vessel, R/V Valdivia, in 1972, the
West German Ministry for Education and Science has charted the ship
for four years to conduct a comprehensive nodule survey. Several
cruises are planned in the nodule belt southeast of Hawaii. A sister
ship is being built with government subsidies. The AMR group is also
being subsidized for a nodule mining feasibility study.
The Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Oceans (CNEXO)
is sponsoring engineering research on a modified version of the CLB
mining system. CNEXO in association with Soeiete Le Nickel has
also been engaged in extensive exploration for nodules in the South
Pacific in the general vicinity of French Polynesia using the Tahiti-
based research vessel Le Norit. 2 The French Atomic Energy Commis-
sion is conducting research on nodule processing techniques.
Government activity in Japan has been extensive in sponsoring nod-
ule exploration and research and development of mining and metal-
lurgical processing. The Industrial Science and Technology Agency
subsidized Sumitomo Shoji and Sumitomo Shipbuilding and Machin-
ery in 1968 to conduct tests of a small-scale CLB system. The Ministry
of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has subsidized the Su-
mitomo group several times since 1970 to carry out research on and to
develop, automatically detachable buckets for the CLB system. Su-
mitomo Metal Mining received a subsidy in 1972 to construct a test
plant and conduct research and development on nodules processing.
Government participation will increase with the recently proposed
venture of government and industry. Thirty leading Japanese com-
panies have formed a Deep Ocean Mining Association (DOMA) to
advise MITI on the technology for mining and processing manganese
nodules. 3 Funds will be allocated by industry and government in 1976
or 1977. DOMA has a caretaker staff provided by Sumitomo Metal
Mining. A sophisticated new mining vessel the Hakurei Maru, is ready
to conduct nodule surveys and DOMA expects to begin commercial
operations in 1980.
The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research is studying
the distribution and chemical composition of manganese nodules and
2 CNEXO annual report, Paris, 1972.
3 Metals Week, June 11, 1973, p. 2.
* ECAFE, op. cit., p. 34
UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS
The Soviet Union has been actively engaged in manganese nodule
exploration and research since the 1950's. Large numbers of photos and
samples of nodules have been obtained. Several technical papers have
appeared in Soviet scientific journals over the years describing the
mineralogy, chemistry, and internal structure of the nodules, their dis-
tribution, and hypotheses of origin. 5 Earlier expeditions using the
R/V Vityaz, were mainly concentrated in the Pacific and Indian
Oceans while later investigations have extended into the Atlantic
Ocean. In 1971, the Soviet bloc set up an International Coordinating
Center of Marine Exploration in the Soviet Union.
Although the Soviets have dredged many nodule samples from
the deep seabed for study purposes, there seems to be little progress
toward commercial exploitation. One reason may be that the USSR
is essentially self sufficient or a major exporter of the major metals
contained in manganese nodules (nickel, copper, cobalt, and manga-
nese). Consequently, developing expensive technology to recover these
metals from the deep seabed would not be as pressing a concern to
the USSR as it would be to other countries more dependent on im-
ports of these metals.
On the Soviet shelf, low grade manganese nodules have been dis-
covered in the Baltic Sea in the Gulf of Riga. In some areas of the
shelf they are reported to exceed 3,500 tons per square kilometer. 6
The British Department of Trade and Industry has offered financial
support to the two British members of the recently formed Kennecott
group. The British firms are Rio Tinto Zinc Corp. and Consolidated
Gold Fields Ltd. These firms would repay the loan if the venture is
profitable, and would get first call on their 30 percent share of the
metals produced. 7
Although several Canadian firms including International Nickel
Company (INCO), Noranda Mines Ltd., and Cominco Ltd., are par-
ticipants in international consortia to mine manganese nodules from
the ocean floor, no government funds appear to be involved.
5 Skornyakova, N. S. and P. F. Andrusphchenko. Iron-manganese Nodules from the Cen-
tral Part of the South Pacific. Oceanologrj, v, 8, n. 5, 1968, pp. 692-701.
8 Sovetskaia Latviia, November 24, 1968, p 4.
7 Metals Week, Feb. 4, 1974, p. 6.
VII. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY
Confronting the Issues
On August 17, 1967, the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United
Nations proposed in a note verbale that the 22nd U.N. General Assem-
bly scheduled to convene the following month place on its agenda the
following item :
Declaration and treaty concerning the reservation exclusively for peaceful
purposes of the seabed and of the ocean floor, underlying the seas beyond the
limits of present national jurisdiction, and the use of their resources in the
interests of mankind.
The accompanying explanatory memorandum proposed that the
seabed and ocean floor are a common heritage of mankind and the net
financial benefits derived from the use and exploitation of the seabed
and of the ocean floor shall be used primarily to promote the develop-
ment of poor countries. The memorandum proposed that an interna-
tional agency should be created to administer and control exploitation
of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
Many countries saw this as a welcome opportunity to gain a share
of an immense wealth if the technology could be developed to recover
it. As the poorer countries were in no position to develop the expensive
and sophisticated technology to exploit the seabed resources, this pro-
posal to benefit directly from the ability of the technologically ad-
vanced nations had widespread support. The extent of this wealth was
poorly defined, but the developing nations generally assumed that the
seabed contained vast resources of oil and minerals that could help
bring them to an economic par with the developed nations.
The sudden popularity of the Malta proposal was due to the timeli-
ness of its presentation in the United Nations. The concept had been
previously developed by the United States but had received little
notice. In 1966, President Johnson said :
Under no circumstances, we believe, must we ever allow the prospect of rich
harvest and mineral wealth to create a new form of colonial competition among
the maritime nations. We must be careful to avoid a race to grab and to hold the
lands under the high seas. We must insure that the deep seas and the ocean
bottoms are, and remain, the legacy of all human beings. 1
Legislative Concern in the 90th Coxgress
Although the U.S. delegation supported the Maltese proposal, the
possibility of the United Nations taking immediate action to reserve
the seabed beyond national jurisdiction for the common heritage of
mankind aroused the concern of many members of Congress. Nearly
two dozen resolutions were introduced into Congress during the months
of August and September 19f>7 expressing opposition to the control of
deep ocean resources by an international authority. Congressional en-
dorsements of the Malta proposal were much less numerous.
1 Speech given at the commissioning of the research ship Occanographcr, at the Washing-
ton Navy Yard on July 13, lOfifi.
In the House, most of the resolutions relating to this issue were
referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and assigned to the
Subcommittee on International Organizations and Movements. Hear-
ings were held in September and October 1967 and jointly with the
Subcommittee on Oceanography of the House Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries in June and July 1968. 2 Senate hearings were
held by the Committee on Foreign Relations. 3 There was generally
more support for the Malta proposal in the Senate than in the House.
Opposition to U.N. action at this time arose from concern that
seabed resources were too poorly known and the United States might
be denying itself valuable assets. Delay was suggested pending the
resolution of the entire question of the limits of national jurisdiction.
In addition, some doubt was expressed whether the United Nations
could effectively administer the vast area of the ocean floor.
Supporters suggested that the Malta proposal would lead to con-
servation of mineral resources, avoidance of possible conflicts arising
from a wild scramble to claim and exploit the seabed, controls on
marine pollution, reduced threat of military use of the seabed, inde-
pendent income for the United Nations, and a general strengthening
and maturity in the United Nations through experience gained in
administering the ocean floor.
Legislative Concern in the 9 1st Congress
Several committees in the 91st Congress examined issues related to
the limits of the continental shelf and jurisdiction of the seabed
resources beyond the shelf. The Senate Foreign Relations Subcom-
mittee on Ocean Space, chaired by Senator Claiborne Pell, heard
testimony on S. Res. 33. This Resolution, submitted by Senator Pell,
proposed a set of basic principles governing activities of states in
developing and exploiting the ocean space. The principles called for
the use of the seabed and subsoil for peaceful purposes only, under
licenses issued by authority of the United Nations; regulations on the
disposal of radioactive waste material in the ocean ; the establishment
of a Sea Guard under the control of the U.N. Security Council ; and
a definition of the limits of the continental shelves.
Hearings were also held by the Special Study on United Nations
Suboceanic Lands Policy of the Senate Committee on Commerce. This
study group, chaired by Senator Ernest F. Hollings, was formed in
July 1969 to consider "the policy which the United States should
advocate within the United Nations when that organization considers
the ground rules which should apply to those nations which desire to
exploit the resources of the deep oceans." 4
A third set of hearings was held by the Special Subcommittee on
Outer Continental Shelf created by Senator Henry M. Jackson, chair -
2 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. The United Nations and the issue
of deep ocean resources ; interim report together with hearings. Held by the Subcommittee
on International Organizations and Movements of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on
H.J. Res. 816 and companion resolutions, Sept. 22. Oct. 10, 19. 25, and 31. 1967. 90th Cong.,
1st sess., H. Rept. No. 999. Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1967. 289 p.
3 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations. Governing the use of ocean
space. Hearings on S.J. Res. Ill, S. Res. 172, and S. Res. 196. Held Nov. 29, 1967. 90th
Confr., 1st sess., Washington. DC. U.S. Govt. Print Off.. 1967, 71 p.
*U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Special Study on United Nations Sub-
oceanic Lands Policy. Hearings held Sept. 23. 24. Oct. 3, and Nov. 21, 1969. 91st Cong.,
1st sess., Washington, D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1970.
man of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. This Subcom-
mittee chaired by Senator Lee Metcalt, began a comprehensive series
of hearings in 1^69 and 1970 to, as Senator Metcalf stated, "clarify
and make more visible the issues related to the proper resolution of
the questions associated with the development of a sound shelf and
seabed resource policy." 5 Following a closed session with members
of the Executive agencies and the scientific community, the Special
Subcommittee held several open hearings to consider legal issues,
economic issues, industry reaction, views of interested citizens groups,
testimony from Members of Congress, Administration policy, and the
U.S. draft working paper to the U.N. Seabed Committee. These hear-
ings were systematically analyzed and the findings and conclusions
presented in the Subcommittee's report to the Committee on Interior
and Insular Affairs. 6
The Subcommittee adopted the wide-shelf position advanced by the
American Bar Association, the National Petroleum Council, and the
American Branch of the International Law Association. This inter-
pretation of the 1958 Geneva Convention held that the definition of the
seaward limits of the continental shelf contained in the Convention
were sufficiently precise and required no amendment. Furthermore,
reopening the Geneva Convention might be disadvantageous to the
United States as Xorthcutt Ely, representing the American Bar Asso-
ciation, suggested, "All we know for sure is that a new law of the sea
conference will be dominated by nations that have no interest in this
subject except to take away from the coastal nations as much of the
minerals of the continental margin as they can get.'' 7 An American
Bar Association report presented by Mr. Ely stated, "an agreement
carried by a majority of small States might embody principles un-
acceptable to the United States, yet which would be difficult to dis-
regard if formally adopted by such a conference." 8
Although the Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf endorsed
the general features of the President's ocean policy statement of May
1970 calling for a seabed treaty and an international authority, strong
concern was voiced over the proposed renunciation of sovereign rights
of all nations beyond the 200-meter isobath. The Subcommittee report
Our only areas of initial difference with the President are his suggestions that
the United States should renounce its sovereign rights to its continental margin
in return for similar, but limited rights in an area designated as a trusteeship
zone, and his suggestion that leases applying to areas of the continental shelf
beyond the 200-meter isobath be issued subject to an international regime to be
agreed upon * * *. To renounce what constitutes the heart of our sovereign
rights in response to illegal demands by a handful of nations can only encourage
greater violation of the freedom of the seas doctrine. 9
With regard to the deep seabed, the Subcommittee concluded:
* * * we are nevertheless as concerned as he [the President] that the Ameri-
can people may derive their fair share of benefits from the exploration and ex-
5 U.S. Congress. Senate, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Outer Continental
Shelf. Hearings by Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf. Parts 1, 2. and 3,
19fi9 and 1970. 91st Cong., 1st and 2d sess.. Washington. D.C., U.S. Govt Print Off.. 1970.
8 I'.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Outer Continental
Shelf. Report by the Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf. Dec. 21, 1970.
Committee Print, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 222 p.
7 Tbid., p. 8.
* Tbid., p. 8.
9 Ibid., p. 29, 30.
ploitation of the deep seabed beyond the limits of exclusive national jurisdiction.
We share with the President the desire that such ocean resources be used ra-
tionally and equitably for the benefit of mankind. Rational and equitable use of
deep seabed resources requires the establishment of conditions in any future sea-
bed treaty which will encourage investment and insure protected access to those
interested in, and capable of, responsibly undertaking mineral recovery
The President's policy statement formed the basis of the U.S. draft
working paper presented to the U.N. Seabed Committee in August
1970. After reviewing the draft, the Subcommittee on Outer Conti-
nental Shelf expressed serious doubts about many of its provisions.
Testimony at subsequent hearings highlighted many of these concerns.
Mr. Northcutt Ely, representing the American Bar Association,
It is manifest that in this proposed treaty we are characterizing as the "com-
mon heritage of mankind" resources that, under existing international law, are a
major component of the American mineral estate, in which the United States has
exclusive sovereign rights exercised by Congress * * *. The advantages to the
United States visible within the four corners of this treaty are minimal. 11
Mr. John Laylin, representing the Committee on Oceanography
of the Section on International and Comparative Law of the American
Bar Association, agreed with the proposed licensing concept for ex-
ploitation but regarded the provision for licensing exploration as un-
workable. He also maintained that the proposed regime was too elabo-
rate and would be prohibitively expensive. Mr. Laylin suggested that
the United States should license its own nationals and recognize the
licenses of other countries during the interim period prior to the
formation of an international authority, and that a future seabed
treaty should preserve the integrity of investments made during the
Mr. T. S. Ary, Vice President of Union Carbide Exploration Corp.,
representing the American Mining Congress, presented several sug-
gestions for technical improvements in the U.S. draft working paper.
Among the points Mr. Ary raised w T as that there were far too many
fees, rentals and bonuses in the working paper. He suggested a registra-
tion rather than a licensing system, and maintained that proprietary
information from exploration should not be turned over to an inter-
national authority. Mr. Ary also suggested that the regime proposed
in the working paper was too elaborate and did not provide a secure
climate for investments made during the interim period. With regard
to the interim period, Mr. Ary testified that U.S. industry was close
to being capable of exploiting the sizable quantities of hard minerals
on the seabeds beyond the continental margins, and that domestic
legislation was needed. He indicated that such legislation, if adopted
in substantially similar form by other nations, could, through the
principle of international reciprocity, become the basis for common
rules among nations regarding freedom of development and security
of tenure among ocean miners. At that hearing. Senator Metcalf ad-
vised Mr. Ary that if the American Mining Congress would prepare
legislation on this matter, he would introduced it for circulation and
The hearings also focused on the Moratorium Resolution of the
U.N. General Assembly. In response to a letter from Senator Lee Met-
™Ibid., p. 31.
" Ibid., p. 25.
calf questioning the position the State Department would anticipate
toward U.S. nationals who express an intention to exploit minerals
from the deep seabed, Mr. John R. Stevenson, Legal Advisor, De-
partment of State replied :
The Department does not anticipate any efforts to discourage U.S. nationals
from continuing with their current exploration plans. In the event that U.S.
nationals should desire to engage in commercial exploitation prior to the es-
tablishment of an internationally agreed regime, we would seek to assure
that their activities are conducted in accordance with relevant principles of
international law, including the freedom of the seas and that the integrity
of their investment receives due protection in any subsequent international
Two of the major tasks the report of the Subcommittee on Outer
Continental Shelf outlined for further development in the 92nd
Congress were :
1. A continuing extensive review of the working paper intro-
duced by the U.S. Delegation at the August 1970 session of the
United Nations Seabed Committee with a view toward seeking
modifications of it to conform to our interpretation of the Presi-
dent's intent and with our recommendations outlined above.
2. An investigation of the special problem of an interim policy
which would insure continued exploration and exploitation of the
natural resources of our continental margin under present law;
and would establish appropriate protection for investments re-
lated to mineral recovery by U.S. nationals in areas of the deep
seabed beyond the limits of exclusive national jurisdiction. 13
Legislative Concern in the 92d Congress
The Special Subcommittee on Outer Continental Shelf went out of
existence at the end of the 91st Congress but its Members continued
to be concerned with deep seabed mineral exploitation. Pursuing the
tasks outlined in the Subcommittee report. Senator Lee Metcalf asked
Senator Henry M. Jackson, Chairman of the full committee to direct
staff members to attend the July-August 1971 sessions of the United
Nations Seabed Committee and to report their analysis and findings.
Their report. The Law of the Sea Crisis, 1 * noted with concern that
most developing nations generally favored some form of international
seabed development monopoly and generally opposed the idea of a
system of licensing or concessions advanced by developed countries.
The staff report also expressed the fear that the U.S. delegation was
placing major emphasis on military objectives in negotiations, and
sacrificing United States interests in seabed resources. The report
We recognize that the U.S. free transit proposal was admittedly designed by
the Defense Department to enhance U.S. military security. We are also aware of
the committee's unfaltering support of the necessity of U.S. naval mobility. We
call this fact to the attention of the Committee because we believe that the U.S.
free transit proposal may be unattainable and because we fear that the Defense
Department might urge the administration to abandon its deep seabed mining
objectives and support the creation of an international seabed mining monopoly
controlled by less developed nations as a trade-off for the votes of such less
12 Ibid., p. 23.
13 Ibid., p. 33.
11 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. The law of the §ea
crisis. A staff report on the United Nations Seahed Committee, the outer continental shelf,
and marine mineral development. 9l»d Cong.. 1st sess., Committee print, December 1971,
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Office, 1972, 328 p.
65-675 O - 76
developed nations in favor of the Defense Department-sponsored free transit
To sacrifice U.S. mineral interests in mining the deep seabed for a perceived
military objective is at least debatable ; but to sacrifice U.S. mineral objectives
in mining the deep seabed for what may be an unattainable military objective is
folly, we feel. 15
The staff report found a strong international trend for a wide shelf
similar to the position taken by the former Special Subcommittee on
Outer Continental Shelf. Most coastal nations favored a seaward
extension of national jurisdiction to the outer edge of the submerged
continental land mass or to 200 miles from shore, whichever is greater.
Consequently, there seemed little prospect for adoption of the U.S.
proposal for nations to renounce sovereign rights beyond the 200-meter
The report recommended that the Senate Committee on Interior and
Insular Affairs go forward with legislation to encourage U.S.
nationals to proceed with the orderly development of seabed resources
under the authority of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The report concluded :
Ample authority under well established law, enables the United States to
regulate the activities of its nationals engaged in deep seabed mineral exploita-
tion wherever upon the high seas they may be conducting such operations. 19
On November 2, 1971, Senator Metcalf introduced the first deep
seabed hard minerals bill, S. 2801. It was cosponsored by Senators
Jackson, Allott, Bellmon, and Stevens. An identical bill, H.R. 13904,
was introduced into the House on March 20 1972 by Representative
Thomas N. Downing and 16 cosponsors. These bills which embodied the
legislative recommendations of the U.S. mining interests, authorized
the Secretary of the Interior to promote the conservation and orderly
development of the hard mineral resources of the deep seabed, pending
adoption of an international regime.
Shortly before hearings on these bills were scheduled, observers
were sent to the March 1972 session of the U.N. Seabed Committee.
Their report 17 warned of the militant stand toward U.S. rights to
mine the ocean floor taken by the "Group of 77," the policy caucus of
now more than 100 developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin
America. The delegate from Chile contended that present seabed ex-
ploration and development activities of U.S. companies violated in-
ternational law. He called for a cessation of such activities by the
United States and other countries and urged the U.N. Secretariat to
investigate U.S. ocean mining activities and requested the U.S. dele-
gation to provide the Secretariat with all evidence of seabed mining
activities of its nationals. The Chilean delegate also attacked S. 2801
by suggesting that, if enacted, it would establish a policy contrary to
The delegate from Peru endorsed these remarks and threatened the
United States and other developed countries with U.N. sanctions un-
less they assured the Seabed Committee that there would be no further
seabed mining development.
15 Ibif!., p. 10.
ia fbid., n. 10.
17 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Law of the sea
crisis : an intensifying polarization. Part II. A Staff Report on the United Nations Seabed
Committee, the Outer Continental Shelf and Marine Mineral Development. May 1972.
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972, 147 p.
The U.S. delegation responded to these charges by stating that U.S.
companies were engaged in manganese nodule exploration activities
as they have the implied right to do. Furthermore, the sooner such
minerals are recovered the sooner mankind will benefit from these
resources. The activities of U.S. companies, the U.S. delegate stressed,
only emphasize the importance of reaching an international agreement
for a seabed regime.
Senators Metcalf and Bellmon also responded to this attack on leg-
islation before the U.S. Congress. Senator Metcalf stated :
We would be most interested to consider their objective analysis of S. 2801 and
the relationship between it and the development of a future seabed treaty. But
mere threats, claims and demands such as were made at the U.N. last week and
made during the debate preceding the adoption of the now defunct Moratorium
Resolution will do little to influence us during our consideration of national
legislation affecting U.S. nationals. 18
Hearings on H.R. 13904 were held by the Subcommittee on Oceanog-
raphy of the House Committtee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries on
May 12, 16, and 25, 1972. 19 Hearings on S. 2801 were held on June 2,
1972 by the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels of the
Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. 20 Seabed resources
were also included in hearings on law of the sea issues by the Subcom-
mittee on International Organizations and Movements of the House
Committee on Foreign Affairs, 21 the Subcommittee on Oceans and
Atmosphere of the Senate Committee on Commerce. 22 and the Sub-
committee on Oceanography of the House Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries. 23
Several issues emerged during the hearings on S. 2801 and H.R.
13904, but neither bill was reported out of committee. The major issues
developed were as follows :
1. How long will it take to arrive at an internationally agreed-
upon settlement to the numerous legal /political problems of re-
source jurisdiction and a seabed regime?
2. What are the technological considerations and what harm
will be done to the American mining industries if they were forced
to wait and lose their present technological lead ?
3. What correlation is there between the interim legislation and
stated U.S. ocean policy and resolutions adopted by the United
4. What will be the economic impact of mining seabed nodules
on developing countries or on the United States ?
18 Metcalf, Lee. Statement by Senator Metcalf. In Remarks of TIenrv Rellmon. Congres-
sional Record (daily ed.) v. 118, Mar. 14, 1972. p. S 8929.
19 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Oceanography
miscellaneous. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oceanography on Deep Seabed Hard
Mineral Resources. NACOA Authorization, and Geneva U.N. Seabed Committee. 92d Cong.,
2d sess. May 12, 10. 25, and Sept. 14, 26, 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 1972,
"U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Development of hard
mineral resources of the deep seabed. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Mate
rials and Fuels on S. 2S01. 92d Cong., 2d sess. June 2. 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print.
Off., 1972. 77 p.
21 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. Law of the sea and peaceful uses
of the seabeds. Hearings before the Subcommittee on International Organisations and
Movements. 92d Cong., 2d sess., Apr. 10 and 11, 1972. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. OCT..
1972. 115 p.
-U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. Law of the sea. Hearing before the
Subcommittee on Oceans and Atmosphere. 92d Cong., 2d sess., Oct. •"•. 1972. Washington,
U.S. Govt. Print. Off.. 1972, 137 p.
23 Oceanography Miscellaneous, op. rit., pp. 237-273.
5. What implications will the interim legislation have on U.S.
foreign policy, balance of payments, and foreign aid ?
6. How will the legislation affect the environment or interfere
with other marine activities ?
The hearings revealed opposition to the proposed legislation by in-
ternationally oriented groups and individuals, including several law-
yers, a geologist, and a group called Save Our Seas. Legal and business
representatives of both the petroleum and mining industries strongly
supported the interim legislation. Some Members of Congress testified
in favor and some opposed.
The Executive branch maintained that the United States wished to
delay taking a specific position on S. 2801 and H.R. 13904. In a letter
to Senator Henry M. Jackson, dated May 19, 1972, John Stevenson,
head of the Interagency Task Force on Law of the Sea and Legal Ad-
visor to the State Department, explained :
We are not prepared at this time to state a position on S. 2801. We realize, how-
ever, that we cannot indefinitely postpone doing so on legislation of this type and
we will watch the developments in the summer session of the U.N. Seabeds Com-
mittee and the U.N. General Assembly session this fall very closely * * *. We will
report to you again on this matter in the fall. 24
In the fall hearings, the State Department was still not prepared to
take a position on S. 2801, citing as a reason prospects for progress in
the continuing negotiations in the U.N. General Assembly.
Proponents of the interim legislation cited the investment of
several million dollars by U.S. mining companies to develop seabed
mining technology over the last 10 years. They warned that this
technological lead might be lost to foreign competitors if U.S. firms
are not encouraged to proceed to commercial production. American
mining interests stated they were hesitant to invest the additional
sums of $150 to $300 million necessary to reach commercial production
without some security for their mining claims. N. W. Freeman, Chair-
man of the Board of Tenneco, Inc., of which Deepsea Ventures is a
subsidiary, outlined the following considerations restraining further
funding of major operations :
1. Detailed definition of any one of Deepsea's ore body dis-
coveries will entail extensive, costly, and highly visible operations
on location, as will future on-site engineering tests. The location
of the ore body will inevitably become public information when
these operations begin.
2. The ore bodies Deepsea has located which are of economic in-
terest tend to be limited in area due to local phenomena including
topography, concentration, and assay. Candidacy is judged by the
requirements of a 40-year operation at one million short tons of
dry nodules recovered per year.
3. The candidate ore bodies differ significantly in bearing
strength of the seabed, depth, current and weather conditions, dis-
tance from support bases, and assay, composition, size, weight, and
concentration of the nodule population. All of these phenomena
significantly affect engineering designs, which must be tailored as
early as possible to the particular ore body selected. For example,
two ore bodies of equal economic value might, according to Deep-
** Development of Hard Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, op. cit., p. 7.
sea's experience and technology, require quite different processing
plant equipment. The processing plant constitutes the largest
single capital cost of the Deepsea ocean mining project.
4. National and international monitoring of environmental im-
pacts, if any, will require inspections during test and development
operations thereby making compulsory disclosure of mine site lo-
Therefore, the extensive costs associated with the particular mine
site must be protected by a preferential right to the selected ore body
and that preferential right must vest prior to the time :
(a) The mine site location is compromised,
(b) The engineering design is finalized, and
(c) The construction costs are incurred. 25
Another point made by the mining interests was the domestic need
for the metals contained in the manganese nodules and our increasing
dependence on foreign sources of supply. C. H. Burgess, Vice Presi-
dent. Exploration, Kennecott Copper Corp., cited the April 1972 in-
terim report of the National Commission on Materials Policy entitled,
"Toward a National Mineral Policy — Basic Data and Issues", which
That as the nation's needs continue to grow, as per capita consumption of
materials in other countries increases at an even faster rate than ours, it becomes
increasingly difficult for the U.S. to fill its evergrowing deficits by imports, even
at increasing prices. 28
Mr. Burgess also pointed out that in 1970 the United States im-
ported almost $400 million of nickel, about $600 million of copper, and
$35 million of manganese.
The threat of losing not only the technological lead to foreign coun-
tries but also the products of commercial seabed operations was also
revealed in the following exchange between Senator Metcalf and Jack
Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures :
Mr. Metcalf. In your opinion would these foreign countries, some of which
have already been outlined by previous witnesses, would they wait until ratifica-
tion of an international treaty or a United Nations-sponsored regime?
Mr. Flipse. It is my conviction that they would not, inasmuch as their expend-
itures in the area raises from a maximum of 25 percent of the cost to a minimum
of no cost. It is this underwriting or subsidy in the foreign area which permits
them to move ahead with much less regard for a stable political environment. 27
Supporters of the bills pointed to the need for interim legislation be-
cause of the likely delays in obtaining a new Law of the Sea Conven-
tion. They cited the eight years spent in preparation for the 1958
Geneva Conventions that codified customary maritime law and sug-
gested that an even longer period might be needed before a new inter-
national treaty involving unprecedented legal issues would go into
effect. They also suggested that the legislation might induce delega-
tions to get down to business in the U.N. Seabed Committee and make
progress in negotiations.
Opponents of the legislation expressed the fear that unilateral action
by the United States would destroy any hope for successfully negotiat-
25 Ibid., p. 73.
26 Ibid., p. 35.
27 Ibid., p. 43.
ing a seabed treaty, and would instead initiate a universal grab for
distant offshore claims. They pointed out that S. 2801 and H.R. 13904
are directly opposed to the stated position of the President and the
U.S. delegation to the U.N. Seabed Committee. Furthermore, while the
U.N. Declaration of Principles and the Moratorium Resolution are not
legally binding on any nation, they convey recommendations to gov-
ernments with the expectation that U.N. members will abide by them.
Opponents were concerned that the provisions of S. 2801 would be
characterized as an attempt by the United States unilaterally to claim
national jurisdiction over areas of the deep ocean bottom beyond the
limits of U.S. national jurisdiction.
Another point raised in opposition to licensing U.S. nationals to
develop seabed mining operations was inadequate consideration for
the ocean environment. Senator Alan Cranston described the lack of
environmental regulation as one of the most important flaws in the
bill and stated, "S. 2801 fails to establish procedures by which damages
for environmental pollution could be assessed peacefully and fairly." 28
Lack of environmental data was also cited as a reason for delaying
action on the bills. However, preliminary studies were introduced indi-
cating the mining method developed by Deepsea Ventures produced
no significant environmental effects. These studies were conducted in
the summer of 1970 by scientists of the Lamont-Doherty Geological
Observatory in 800 meters of water on the Blake Plateau in the At-
lantic. Dr. Oswald A. Roels, the principal investigator, stated that
under the conditions employed, the discharged water remained in the
euphotic zone ; was not likely to produce anoxic conditions ; and would
increase phytoplankton growth (which could lead to increased marine
food chain productivity) only if its concentration, after mixing with
surface water, exceeded 10 percent, which it did not. Dr. Roels also out-
lined a program for future research to further assess the environmental
impact of seabed mining.
Among the specific objections raised to S. 2801 and H.R. 13904, Sam-
uel R. Levering of Save Our Seas stated :
1. The size of the blocks (40,000 square kilometers) is too large. 5,000 kilo-
meters should be enough.
2. Total holdings by one licensee of about 400,000 square kilometers within a
circle with a diameter of 1250 kilometers again is much too large. This might
yield forty times the current annual consumption of nickel. Full implementation
of this provision soon might substantially exhaust the possibilities for commercial
exploitation of the best nodule sites.
3. The principle of exclusive occupancy is unnecessary. What is needed is ex-
clusive access for harvesting nodules from the ocean floor by moving machinery.
4. No provision is needed now for subsurface mining. Present provision should
be limited to operation on or immediately below the deep ocean floor.
5. The license should be to exploit a certain number of tons of nodules over a
certain limited number of years (for example, 20 years), not into the far dis-
tant future. 28
Mr. Levering also suggested that negotiations with other nations
leading to mutual restraint is a better way to prevent others from "get-
ting ahead" of the United States.
Mr. Frank L. LaQue, former Vice President of International Nickel
Co., also criticized the large size of the licensed blocks and suggested
licensing only rights to access to specified quantities of nodules within a
28 Ibid., pp. 20-21.
29 Ibid., p. 70.
defined time period. Mr. LaQue recommended that only manganese
nodules be considered in any proposed legislation and metalliferous
muds or subsurface hard minerals should not be included. In addition,
he doubted the likelihood that other "reciprocating states*' would be
willing to have the terms of their reciprocation dictated by the United
States through the mechanism of S. 2801. Consequently, he doubted the
real value of the security that the bill is supposed to provide.
An issue that had become a political focal point in the United Nations
was also addressed in the hearings. This was the question as to the
extent of the economic impact on the mineral exporting developing
countries who would be adversely affected by seabed mining. Studies
by the United Nations were submitted indicating :
A possible adverse impact on these [metals] markets would not be catastroph-
ically disruptive to the economies of the countries concerned. Nevertheless, any
loss, current or potential, of export revenues to developing countries creates
additional problems to their already strained economies in the process of
Several means were proposed for diminishing the impact of seabed
mining on the land-based mining industries in developing countries :
1. Artificial control of production from the seabed to keep it at
levels that would not interfere with land production or prices;
2. Global controls, which would not discriminate against seabed
production, for they would presumably apply to producers irre-
spective of the location of their mines ;
3. Limitation on the issuances of exploitation licenses to a rate
judged appropriate to maintain a balance between land and sea
4. Issue a license for a specified amount of annual production of
metal and to limit the number of such licenses to that necessary
for market and price stability ;
5. Impose a drop in price at the expense of producing countries ;
6. Compensatory payments by the international machinery to
the countries affected by the declines in export revenues; and
7. Providing preferential technical assistance to developing
countries adversely affected by seabed production to help them
broaden their economic base.
Legislative Concern in the 93d Congress
During the 93d Congress, the issue of deep seabed hard minerals
exploitation took several turns. The interplay between the delibera-
tions of the Congressional Committees and the negotiations in the
U.N. Seabed Committee became more intensified. As a result of devel-
opments in the Seabed Committee and testimony before the Congres-
sional Committees, sponsors of the legislation introduced several
changes in the bills during the second session.
THE FIRST SESSION
The Dee]) Seabed Hard Minerals Resources Act was reintroduced
into the 93d Congress as H.R. 9 on January 3, 197:') by Representative
Thomas X. Downing, and the identical companion bill, S. 1134,
30 U.N. General Assembly. Possible impact of seabed mineral production In the area
beyond national jurisdiction on world markets, with special reference to the problems of
developing countries: a preliminary assessment. A/AC.138/3G. May 28, 1971. p. 65.
on March 8, 1973 by Senator Lee Metcalf. The House held hear-
ings on March 1, 28, 29, and April 3, 1973. 31 The Senate hearings
were held May 17, June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. 32 In their testimonies,
most of the interest groups maintained much the same posi-
tions as taken in the previous Congress. However, in contrast to the
hearings in the 92d Congress in which the Administration witnesses
did not take a position on the legislation, Mr. Charles N. Brower,
Acting Legal Advisor and Acting Chairman of the Inter-Agency
Task Force on the Law of the Sea, in letters dated March 1, 1973,
informed Representative Leonor K. Sullivan, Chairman of the House
Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee and Senator Henry M.
Jackson, Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, of the
Administration's opposition to H.R. 9 (Appendix A). Mr. Brower
maintained that H.R. 9 was premature and that the Administration
adhered to the policy contained in the President's Ocean Policy State-
ment of May 23, 1970, in which the President proposed that all nations
adopt, as soon as possible, a treaty establishing an international regime
for the exploitation of seabed resources beyond the 200 meter depth.
In addition, he reiterated the President's statement that it was
neither necessary nor desirable to try to halt exploration and exploita-
tion of the seabeds during the negotiation process, provided that such
activities are subject to the international regime to be agreed upon,
which should include due protection of the integrity of investments
made in the interim period.
Mr. Brower expressed the belief that with the Law of the Sea nego-
tiations moving into a critical stage, it is necessary for States to be
very careful to avoid actions that can have an adverse effect on the
negotiating atmosphere. He further stated :
It is apparent that H.R. 9 independent of the particular content or merits of
the Bill, has become a symbol to many countries of defiance of the multilateral
negotiating process. Regardless of our views on the intent and effect of the
legislation, it may be argued by others that the legislation is similar to unilateral
claims that we oppose and that are contrary to our security, navigation and
resource interests, and moreover preempts the Law of the Sea Conference on this
Finally, he stated that while the Administration intended to begin
at once to formulate a legislative approach on a contingency basis, the
Administration did not seek the passage of alternative legislation prior
to the conclusion of the Conference, if a timely and successful Confer-
ence were predictable. He defined a "timely and successful Confer-
ence" to mean a Conference which would arrive at a Convention, in-
cluding a seabed regime, which would be open for signature in 1974 or,
at the latest, not later than the summer of 1975.
On the other hand, some sponsors of the legislation began to take
a less optimistic view of progress in the United Nations. In comment-
ing on the endless and seemingly unproductive negotiating sessions
of the U.N. Seabeds Committee, Congressman Downing, Chairman of
31 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. Deep seabed hard
minerals. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Oceanography on H.R. 9 and H.R. 7732.
93d Cons?. Mar. 1. 28, 29 Apr. 3, 1973. and H.R. 12233 Feb. 26, 27, 28, 1974. Washington,
D.C., U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1974, .113 p.
88 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Mineral resources of
the deep seabed. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels on
S. 1134. 93d Cong.. 1st Bess. May 17, June 14, 15, 18, and 19, 1973. Washington, D.C, U.S.
Govt. Print. Off., 1973, 768 p.
33 Appendix A.
the Subcommittee on Oceanography, House Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries stated :
Since the committee first addressed itself to this interim legislation, the inter-
national negotiations, which have so long dominated administration policy on
marine resources, have seemingly receded even farther into the future. Little
was accomplished in 1972 negotiations except the production of a conference
agenda of doubtful content and a few items of proposed treaty "language" of
somewhat dubious utility. The nature of these items, and particularly the last
minute timing of their production, may easily lead one to believe that their ac-
complishment is more cosmetic than substantive in intent and effect.
The 1973 Conference on Law of the Sea has now become the 1974-75 Confer-
ence to be preceded by a short organizational exercise in late 1973.
The Seabed Committee, sitting for 2 years as a conference preparatory com-
mittee, after a previous 3 years of general debate, has not produced even a
minimum amount of proposed treaty language upon which to structure negotia-
tion in the Conference. It only has some 65 scheduled days in 1973 to do so.
If it cannot, and I believe that it cannot, the November-December 1973 United
Nations General Assembly has the authority and responsibility to delay Confer-
ence plans for another year or more.
In the face of continual delay and disruption at the U.N., domestic interests
continue to suffer disadvantage and administration neglect * * *. Our ocean
miners are frustrated in their plans to develop highly desirable alternate metal
sources because investment capital is difficult to secure in a politically emo-
tional legal atmosphere. * * *
These miners are now ready to make substantial investments leading to
actual mining operations. This investment must not be inhibited by the irre-
sponsible actions of materials-exporting countries using the U.N. as a mechanism
to prevent the United States from developing alternative sources of copper and
other critical metals.
It is time for the United States to protect its national interest and to reaffirm
strongly its commitment to the principle that deep ocean resources should remain
available to all nations and should not become the monopolized resource of any
one entity — private, public, or international. * * *
This legislation has a potentially beneficial effect on domestic revenue, bal-
ance of payments, materials availabilities, ocean technology, and many other
facets which may very well outweigh considerations related to our international
The State Department response to Senator Jackson and Representa-
tive Sullivan was also conveyed to delegates in the U.N. Seabed Com-
mittee by the head of the U.S. delegation. Mr. John Xorton Moore.
He informed the other delegations that the Executive Branch opposed
the passage of U.S. seabed legislation at this time although they could
not rule out the alternative of interim legislation if a Law of the Sea
Conference is not concluded as scheduled and does not produce a treaty
that assures an accommodation of the basic objectives of all nations.
He pointed out that the Administration was keenly aware of the lack
of confidence many people have in the timely and satisfactory progress
of the U.N. Seabed Committee and the need of I'.S. companies to
secure a more stable base for seabed investments. Using these points
as leverage, Mr. Moore pressed the Seabed Committee to maintain its
schedule. He also stressed the need to prepare for the provisional entry
into force of an internationally agreed regime immediately after a
law of the sea treaty is opened for signature. He suggested that this
would be necessary to ensure that all seabed exploitation is covered
from the beginning by the treaty "so that states will not have to con-
sider other alternatives to resolve the problem."
This proposal to the U.N. Seabed Committee for an interim regime
was then reported to the House Subcommittee on Oceanography in
M Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., pp. 11. 12, 13.
the March 28 hearing. In the June 14 hearing of the Senate Subcom-
mittee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, Mr. Moore reported on the
favorable response to the U.S. proposal. He stated that of the 20 dele-
gations which spoke to the proposal no delegation opposed the concept.
This response was cited as an example of satisfactory progress in
In response to Senator Metcalf, Mr. Moore then amplified the Ad-
ministration's position that passage of legislation for seabed hard
mineral mining would not be advisable from the standpoint of the
Law of the Sea negotiations even if it were not to become effective
until January 1, 1976. He repeated the premise that such action would
be viewed by many delegations as a thinly veiled threat of unilateral
action by the United States to pressure others into an agreement on
Senator Metcalf still maintained a neutral stance in his sponsorship
of S. 1134. In his opening remarks in the May 17, 1973 hearings,
Senator Metcalf stated:
I emphasize that my sponsorship of S. 1134 does not imply my support of all
of its provisions. The predecessor bill grew out of the appearance by representa-
tives of the American Mining Congress before my special subcommittee on the
Outer Continental Shelf in September of 1970. At that time, as our hearing
records will show, I told industry witnesses that I would introduce their pro-
posals for circulation and discussion. That was my position when I introduced
S. 2801. It is my position today. I am not committed to this particular bill nor
to any part of it. But I, and the members of this subcommittee are ready to be
Among the supporters of the proposed legislation was Mr. T. S.
Ary, vice president of Union Carbide Exploration Corporation, and
representative of the American Mining Congress. He pointed out the
balance-of-payments deficit for primary minerals would reach $64
billion by the year 2000 assuming only 1970 prices. He suggested that
encouraging investment in nodule mining would lead to technological
breakthroughs which would carry over into other aspects of U.S.
industry. He also expressed the fear that by delaying seabed mineral
recovery, the United States would lose its technological lead and
In defending specific points in the legislation, Mr. Ary testified that
the lease payment was not too small. He stated :
We feel that the amount of money is fair, the risk is great and during the
exploration stage the risk is being assumed by the company. If the amount of
money is too low you will have a speculative group come into the operation. In
our discussions we have suggested that a nominal amount be required for the
exploration license but that work requirements involved be of a substantial
nature so you do not sit on the blocks. 38
Mr. Ary conceeded that the ocean mining industry would only need
mining areas beyond the continental rise so that any redefinition of
the (loop seabed in the bill to avoid conflict with discussions over
boundaries of national jurisdiction would be acceptable. He also had
no objection to deleting the concept of subsurface blocks because there
is no present need to regulate these.
Mr. Edwin M. Hood, President and Board Chairman, Shipbuilders
Council of America spoke to the need of the shipbuilding industry for
assured availability of the metals contained in manganese nodules. He
"Mineral Resources of the Depp Seabed, op. cit., p. 81.
3,5 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., p. 284.
also stressed the beneficial impact construction of nodule mining ships
and ore carriers would have on the U.S. shipbuilding industry.
In testimony before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials and
Fuels, Dr. Richard A. Geyer, head of the Department of Oceanog-
raphy, Texas A. & M. University and former vice chairman of the
Stratton Commission, urged passage of S. 1134. He discounted the
possible environmental damage from ocean mining as being insig-
nificant compared to that caused by naturally occurring large-scale
oceanographic phenomena such as turbidity currents and natural up-
welling. Dr. Geyer concluded :
After studying the provisions of this hill, I am convinced that it represents an
excellent vehicle to implement most effectively a numher of those recommenda-
tions of the Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources — more
commonly known as the Stratton Commission — directed toward the development
of ocean mining in general and manganese mining in particular. 37
In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oceanography,
John E. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures. Inc., discussed several
points which had been questioned by Committee members. He ex-
plained that the minesite size of 10,000 square kilometers for the pur-
poses of exploitation is barely adequate for a mining operation scaled
to the recovery of one million tons of dry nodules per year, assuming
the nodule concentration of about two pounds per square foot and a
recovery efficiency within the present capability of technology. He
Realistic estimates of dredging accessibility and efficiency, sweep efficiency,
and the cut off grade of actual minesites indicate an overall mining recovery
efficiency of well below 50 percent of the nodules on the minesite. * * * Our
calculations indicate that a 1 million ton operation is the minimum efficient size
to take advantage of existing economies of scale and engineering efficiency. 38
Mr. Flipse pointed out that while the work requirements during the
exploration or development period are minimal in the scale of real
costs to be incurred in ocean mining development, they are considered
by industry sufficient to preclude speculative paper-claim filing but
small enough to allow minimum-size operations to meet the legislative
requirements. Mr. Flipse also acknowledged that the investment guar-
antee period of 40 years may be excessive. He stated :
I think 40 years was chosen originally because, based upon Internal Revenue
Code, financial commitments were going to be written off on pier facilities,
buildings, main plant facilities, over a 40-year period. This was the basis for this
number being selected for the guarantee. I feel that some of us are ready to ac-
cept a lesser period although the drafters and the Mining Congress still feel that
the 40 years is a reasonable time period, based upon the durability of a fair
proportion of this equipment. 39
Mr. Flipse also informed the Subcommittee that based on Deepsea
Ventures' determinations, '20 to 30 percent of the deep ocean floor has
economically developable deposits. lie stated that it would take ap-
proximately 5 years from the day the bill is passed before processed
metals reached the market. Furthermore, in 5 years or more if an in-
ternational regime went into effect, his company would have recovered
only a fraction of a thousandth ol* a percent of the economic deposits.
Amon<r the opponents of the legislation was Mr. Leigh Katiner.
former Director, Office of Ocean Resources, Department of the Tnte-
37 Minpral Resources of the Peep Seabed, op. cit., p. 'AUK.
38 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., p. 87.
39 Ibid., p. 89.
rior. He raised the objection of getting locked into a specific resource
management scheme which details block sizes, tenure, work require-
ments, fees, royalties, and so forth. Mr. Ratiner stated the problem as
We would need to assemble a large data base of information about the tech-
nology, the metallurgy, and the costs of doing business in order to establish any
degree of real precision for the purpose of legislation, which has a tendency to
endure, sometimes even beyond the point when the information it was based on
was still credible and still up to date. We would want to be very sure we had
adequate data. For the moment it is fair to sav that we do not have adequate
Mr. Ratiner also pointed out that industry is virtually the sole source
of this information, the U.S. Geological Survey has neither the funds
nor the capability to do the kind of oceanwide survey which would be
required in order to have first-hand knowledge and information.
Mr. Ratiner questioned the immediate necessity of passing interim
legislation. Based on 1971 data, he pointed out, the United States
spent $600 million importing metals contained in manganese nodules
and that amounted to 1.3 percent of our total import. He recognized
that this is likely to increase but felt that a delay of a year or two to
await a provisional U.N", regime would not greatly affect our balance-
Mr. Marne A. Dubs, representing the American Mining Congress
exposed the other side of the deficient data argument. He stated that
if full-scale mining were to begin during the interim period before an
international treaty is concluded sound technical information could
be gathered to help create sensible regulations in the future regime.
"Hard information," he said, "can only come from a successful full-
scale mining operation which in turn requires this legislation in order
to commence." 41
Mr. Dubs also expressed reservations about the value of the State
Department's proposal to the U.N. Seabed Committee for a pro-
visional regime. He stated :
One problem with the provisional regime is that it might have far less than
universal acceptance. This might create serious problems for an organization
operating under its umbrella. It also should be noted that it is unlikely that the
details of such a provisional regime could be worked out and put into force any
earlier than a year after conclusion of the convention. 42
The hearings of the Senate Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials
and Fuels on June 18, 1973 were scheduled to hear spokesmen for the
environmental groups. In his opening statement, Senator Metcalf
You will recall that when I was chairman of the Special Subcommittee on the
Outer Continental Shelf we scheduled a hearing for May 13, 1970, to hear wit-
nesses representing the interests of what was then called "conservation." That
was before conservationists became environmentalists.
We had no witnesses, but statements were submitted by, among others :
Charles H. Callison, executive vice president of the National Audubon Society;
Thomas L. Kimball, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, and
Richard H. Stroud, executive vice president of the Sport Fishing Institute.
I am glad to know that in the intervening 3 years the environmentalists have
been able to turn their attention to this complex subject.
When mining industry witnesses appeared before this subcommittee last month,
I asked them a series of questions about environmental protection. You were
40 Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed, op. cit., p. 236.
«Tbi<}., p. 114.
a Tbid., p. 119.
furnished with copies of the replies. These included the allegation that the area
to be mined is "biologically barren" and that "the impact of deepsea nodule min-
ing on biological processes will probably be minimal".
I also hope that you have statistics or studies to back up your statements
and that you will share them with this committee, which shares your concern
about our environment.
And, of course, should you have suggestions for amendments to this bill, or
legislative proposals of your own, we want them. 43
Mr. Carl R. Sullivan, Executive Secretary of the Sport Fishing
Institute, thought that the bill was too broad and that it should be
narrowed somewhat to preclude any type of mining that might involve
blasting or exposure of toxic materials under the seabed. He also sug-
gested that, although it does not appear likely to occur, any ship-
board processing would require a special set of environmental con-
siderations and careful monitoring to prevent the discharge of toxic
chemicals into the sea. He further stated :
Nowhere in this bill does it mention where the processing of the ore will be done.
I think again there might be financial incentives to have it done in a so-called
"developing nation" that had environmental constraints much less stringent than
ours, where they can save money by avoiding some of the pitfalls that might be
required on U.S. soil.
We believe it should be stated and we believe that the processing of the ore —
unless there are compelling political reasons — should be done on U.S. soil
Mrs. Nancy Matisoff, speaking for the Izaak Walton League of
America, informed the Subcommittee that one of the primary concerns
of their organization is the lack of definitive and comprehensive data
of the effects of deep sea mining operations on surface and bottom life.
She suggested that the present bill was seriously deficient in its treat-
ment of the need for ocean and technological research and called for a
full-scale research program in this area.
Speaking for several environmental groups including the Sierra
Club and the Environmental Defense Fund, Mr. Richard Frank of
the Center for Law and Social Policy objected to the proposed legisla-
tion for two reasons. First, he believed passage of the bill would
jeopardize the possibility of effective international agreement on pre-
serving the quality of the ocean environment. Second, he maintained
that no action should be taken until a comprehensive environmental
impact statement is prepared by the Executive Branch.
Dr. John J. Logue. Director. World Order Research Institute, Vil-
lanova University, testifying on behalf of World Federalists, U.S.A..
suggested that the $5,000 long-term leasing fee to mine 40.000 square
kilometers of ocean floor is far too low. Furthermore, he argued that
the U.S. government does not, in his opinion, have the authority to
grant such leases. He also suggested that passage of the Deep Seabed
Bill would impede future ratification of a seabed treaty by the Senate
because of the possibility of then having to pay $400 to $500 million
compensation to our own mining companies.
Professor L. F. E. Goldie. Director. International Legal Studies
Program, Syracuse University College of Law. took exception to some
of Dr. Logue's comments and pointed out that U.S. citizens as well as
anyone else have the right to the common heritage of mankind. lie
"Ibid., pp. 305, 306.
" Ibid., p. 310.
We citizens of the United States, I will remind many people, are also man-
kind. They [the high seas beyond national jurisdiction] are part of our common
property and we are entitled to exercise our individual rights to the common
resources. We can graze our cows. We can take our water from the common wells
just like any other common holder of common rights. 46
Professor Goldie also suggested that the escrow section of the bill
be strengthened to include not only developing countries who partici-
pate in their regimes, but all countries. Professor Goldie further
I would like to point out that technology is exportable. It is salable. I see no
reason why Monaco could not apply, let us say, the technology of deep sea
mining or Luxembourg, provided they can reach some kind of an agreement
for that kind of purchase. Or let us step outside of Europe altogether. There are
countries who no doubt could through the World Bank assistance purchase the
technology that we have developed or other countries have developed and engage
in deep sea mining. It is not simply a matter of a closed club of the so-called
northern developed countries.* 6
In the conclusion of a paper submitted for the record, Professor
Goldie summarized the legality and filing procedure for deep seabed
mining claims. In the paper he stated :
Independently of Congress's enactment of the Deep Seabed Hard Minerals
Act, enterprises may prove and develop mining tracts on the deep seabed of a
reasonable size. Translating "reasonable" into factual claims would depend on
a number of criteria including the nature of the resources to be won and their
distribution, equitable considerations of other claims to win the same resource,
and what could be considered as within the scope of a possessory intent and
control on part of the enterprise. These rights are not subject to impairment
through any disparagements advanced under the United Nations Assembly's
1969 Moratorium Resolution or 1970 Declaration of Legal Principles.
Deep seabed mining claims should be recorded by filing with the Foreign Office
of a claimant's country of nationality all documents necessary to show title.
These should include a Deed Poll announcing to the world the recording enter-
prise's claim, a surveyor or navigator's description of the tract in terms of
fixes, bearings and distances, evidence of possession and of continued active
exploitation of the resource, an intent to assert exclusive rights to exploit the
mineral resources of the tract and testimony that the enterprise was ''first in
time". These specific acts reflect the good faith intention of giving adequate notice
of the making of a claim, in the absence of giving adequate notice of the making
of a claim, in the absence of relevant and applicable statutes and treaties. The
purpose is to give the most practical available means of effectively publicizing
an enterprise's claim, thereby putting all interested parties on notice (i.e., the
notice was there and available to the world had any adverse claimant but taken
reasonable steps to inform themselves of the facts) ."
Although, as described above, a private enterprise could proceed
independently of congressional action, there is much more security
in operating within the confines of a specific document than by actions
drawn from inferences of past conduct.
Numerous studies were introduced into the record during the hear-
ings highlighting the increasing U.S. dependence on foreign sources
of the metals contained in manganese nodules. One study prepared
by Nancy P. Petersen and John K. Justus of the Congressional Re-
search Service, Library of Congress, for the House Subcommittee on
Oceanography included the data in Table 20 :
« Ibid., p. 488.
"Ibid., p. 489.
" Ibid., p. 527-528.
TABLE 20.— CHANGING IMPORT REQUIREMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES
[Net imports as a percent of domestic use] 1
1 Net imports include semirefined forms.
Sources: (1) Final report of the National Commission on Materials Policy. Washington: June 1973. p. 2.23. (2) "The
Stockpile Problem." American Mining Congress. Washington: June 1973. p. 4.
Again both subcommittees refrained from pressing action on the
legislation in order to await the final report of the United Nations
Seabed Committee and the initiation of the Law of the Sea Conference.
THE SECOND SESSION
Finally, on January 28, 1974, Senator Metcalf and 6 cosponsors
introduced Senate Amendment No. 946 in the nature of a sub-
stitute for S. 1134. This legislation was first introduced as a
new bill, S. 2878, on January 23, 1974, and referred to the Committee
on Commerce. Consequently, in order to continue hearings in the Com-
mittee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Minerals,
Materials and Fuels, the sponsors introduced the same bill as Amend-
ment No. 946 to S. 1134. The companion bill, H.R. 12233, was intro-
duced into the House by Representative Thomas Downing and 12
cosponsors. Hearings were held by the House Subcommittee on Ocean-
ography on February 26, 27, and 28, 1974. 48 The Senate Subcommittee
on Minerals, Materials and Fuels held hearings the following week. 49
In the Senate hearings, Subcommittee Chairman Metcalf stated :
Our staff rewrote this legislation to meet the major objections of responsible
spokesmen at previous hearings. As far as I know, the perfect piece of legislation
has yet to be drafted. I am among those who have questions about the material
before us. This, of course, is the reason for legislative hearings. 60
A number of basic changes were incorporated into Amendment No.
946 so that it differed significantly from S. 1134. Among the changes
made were :
( 1 ) Establishment of a moratorium on commercial development
until January 1, 1976, to allow adequate time for international
agreement through the Law of the Sea Conference according to
the time frame regarded as adequate by Administration
(2) Elimination of the subsurface block concept so that the
leased area includes only the seabed and subfloor to a depth of 10
meters below the water-sediment interface.
(3) Narrowing the definition of hard minerals to ferroman-
ganese nodules or accretions.
48 Deep Seabed Hard Minerals, op. cit., pp. 355-513.
411 U.S. Congress, Senate, C mittee on interior and Insular Affairs. Mineral Resources
of the Deep Seabed. Hearings before the Subcommittee on Minerals. Materials and Fuels on
Amendment No. 940 to 8. 1134. 93d Cong., 2d sess. Mar. 5, 6, and 11. 1074. Washiugtuu.
D.C., U.S. (Jovt. Print. Off., 1974, Part II, pp. 769-1355.
*°Ibid., p. 795.
(4) Elimination of the concept of reciprocating States which
were defined as States having similar legislation or with which the
United States establishes a comparable interim policy.
(5) Elimination of the escrow fund which was derived from
part of the license fees and tax revenues from deep seabed mining
operations to provide financial assistance to developing recip-
(6) Elimination of the concept of an international registry
clearinghouse to record licenses and keep records and place this
function with the Secretary of the Interior.
(7) Raising of the license fee from $5,000 to $50,000.
(8) Reduction of the license term to 10 years and, where com-
mercial recovery begins within 10 years, the license is in force so
long as commercial recovery continues but not to exceed 20 more
years. This differed from the previous provisions of a 15-year li-
cense term and no expiration for the duration of commercial
(9) Limiting to 5 the number of licensed blocks held at one
time during the first 5 years.
(10) Requiring application for separate exploration and com-
(11) Providing for public access to information via public
hearings on license applications.
The new legislation appeared to be much more independent in its
nature in that it tended to eliminate many of the provisions that related
to foreign countries. It was also a tighter bill in that it incorporated
a number of additional restrictions, reduced the scope of the licenses,
and allowed a time period for international agreement to be reached
before permitting commercial recovery.
In registering impatience over the lack of progress by the Adminis-
tration in international negotiations and pointing out the increasing
need to support American interests in deep seabed minerals. Senator
Metcalf commented :
That's the last we've heard from President Nixon on this subject, which he
said — or was quoted as saying — on May 23, 1970 was "urgent." I'm paraphrasing
the quotation. He was quoted as saying that "the issue arises now — and with
urgency." I suggest there may be something less than urgent about that 4-year-
oid urgency in the mind of the President. His inability or unwillingness to act are
in sharp contrast to the Government of at least one other major developed power —
the United Kingdom.
In the opinion of some Members of Congress, and I am among them, we should
support the efforts of American industry to go after these minerals vital to our
economy. On the basis of information available to us now, our support certainly
need not go so far as that of the United Kingdom — but American industry may
be able to make such a case. In any event, they should have something more to
go on than a hollow statement from the President that he, almost 4 years ago,
did not believe it either necessary or desirable to try to halt exploration and ex-
ploitation of the seabeds beyond the depth of 200 meters while we seek inter-
national agreement on who shall develop seabed resources.
Of course, it would be preferable to carry forward such exploration and de-
velopment under an international agreement. But I am realistically pessimistic
about our ability to achieve such an agreement in an assembly dominated by the
world have-nots, whose primary interest in the seabed demonstrated to date is the
intent to rip off what they can from the handful of developed nations with the
wherewithal to develop these seabed minerals.
Time is running out for our economy unless we find new sources of the min-
erals we must have — and soon. I feel this Congress would make a horrible
mistake if we were not to do what we can to help our nationals develop the min-
erals we need — at least to exert some measure of control over them, pending
international agreement. 51
Although Administration spokesmen still could not support enact-
ment of the bill for diplomatic reasons, they did find many of the new
provisions acceptable. Accordingly, Mr. John Norton Moore, Chair-
man, National Security Council's Interagency Task Force on Law of
the Sea, and Deputy Special Representative of the President to the
Law 7 of the Sea Conference, testified :
We agree with the underlying premise of the bill that by January 1, 1976, there
must be an adequate legal regime for deep seabed mining under an internationally
agreed regime in force on a provisional basis or, if this is not possible, then under
appropriate legislation. In either event, we will support appropriate legislation
regarding the conduct of U.S. nationals and the role of Federal agencies. We are
mindful in this regard that U.S. firms are making substantial investments in
deep seabed mining and are rapidly approaching the point where they must make
even greater investment decisions. 52
In addition to adversely affecting the progress of the Law of the
Sea negotiations, Mr. Moore enumerated four other points of disagree-
ment dealing with the substance of the bill. First, he objected to the
provision of licensing before 1976. He suggested that some nations
might regard exclusive exploration rights as an attempt to preempt
international negotiations rather than the intended objective of estab-
lishing some domestic priority among U.S. nationals.
The second point Mr. Moore raised dealt with the lack of flexibility
in the bill to deal with the U.S. proposal for provisional application
of an internationally agreed regime. He said that domestic legislation
should be prepared to implement a provisional regime "very soon in
Third, the guarantee and insurance provisions of the bill would re-
quire the U.S. Government to assume liability to private investors for
the Government's exercise of normal treaty-making powers. This
would also place the Government in the role of a direct insurance
underwriter when this function should belong to the private sector.
Finally, Mr. Moore conveyed the position of the executive branch
that there are serious problems with the resource management provi-
sions of the bill. Specifically, there are no provisions for royalties, or
other revenues, flags of convenience, safety of life at sea, and marking
and lighting of offshore mining facilities. He also suggested that there
are problems with the environmental aspects of the bill that would
need further study.
Representatives of industry took issue with the points raised by the
executive branch. In a letter to Senator Metcalf, John E. Flipse.
President of Deepsea Ventures, listed 32 examples of programs where-
by the Federal Government provided relief insurance or guaranty
pools for private investment. Furthermore, the industry viewpoint
of the insurance provisions of the bill was that they only applied
to loss through political interference, but did not provide complete
coverage against loss of profit or against a wide range of damages.
In commenting on the new bill, Maine A. Dubs, speaking in behalf
of the American Mining Congress and Kennecott Copper Corpora-
tion, did not object to elimination of the subsurface block concept
and the escrow fund, lie stated that industry looked with mixed views
61 Ibid., p. 798-799, 836.
62 Ibid., p. 930-931.
65-576 O - 76 - 7
on the moratorium on commercial recovery before January 1, 1976.
With regard to elimination of the reciprocating state concept, Mr.
Dubs stated :
The elimination of the reciprocating state concept is a more serious matter,
and we strongly urge the retention of this principle. It is this principle more
than any other which operates "to promote the conservation and orderly develop-
ment of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed." This principle tells all
nations that the United States intends to cooperate with and take into account
the operations of other nations. It states that the Congress of the United States,
while passing what may appear to some to be narrowly nationalistic legislation,
has in fact mandated a method of easily adjusting to the needs of other nations
also anxious to utilize the resources of the deep seabed. 63
Mr. Dubs praised the redrafted bill for eliminating many of the
generalities and nonspecificity of the regulatory provisions of the
original bill. However, he suggested spelling out further the items
for which the Secret arv should promulgate rules and regulations.
These would include :
1. Eligibility of applicants for license ;
2. Licensing procedures (mechanics) ;
3. Procedures relating to work requirements ;
4. Environmental procedures;
5. Multiple use questions ; and
6. Definition and handling of and reporting of data.
He also suggested requiring the Secretary to issue regulations within
90 days and eliminating the time consuming requirement for public
hearings on each license application. Mr. Dubs strongly recommended
restrictions on the public disclosure of exploration data and mineral
Spokesmen for environmental groups maintained their opposition
to enacting any deepsea mining legislation at this time. Mr. Kichard A.
Frank speaking for the Environmental Defense Fund, the Sierra Club
and other groups, repeated his basic position of the previous session. He
maintained that the marine environment could be effectively protected
only through international agreement. He did note that the new bill
provided for more consideration of environmental questions. Mr.
Samuel R. Levering of the U.S. Committee for the Oceans restated
most of his previous objections and concluded that the bill was entirely
unnecessary and would not accomplish its purpose of security of
Again the record contained ample documentation of the U.S. depend-
ence on foreign mineral supplies. Two U.S. Bureau of Mines charts
inserted into the hearings of the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials
and Fuels pointed out that 1973 imports of raw and processed minerals
exceeded exports by $8 billion. Articles describing the Intergovern-
mental Council of Copper Exporting Countries (CIPEC) and draw-
ing attention to the potential for controlling mineral markets by
exporting countries were also inserted.
A study presented in a Department of State memorandum dated
January 22, 1974, concluded that over the next 3 to 5 years the likeli-
hood of a group of raw materials producers (other than oil) joining
forces against the major consumers to influence their behavior for
political purposes is negligible. The memorandum states that the pro-
ducer countries could drive up prices but probably will not manage to
63 Ibid., p. 1018.
seriously restrict supplies other than copper and bauxite. The final
conclusion presented in the memorandum states :
Although the risks that we shall have to deal with serious restrictions of
supply in the next two or three years are small, they are not negligible and in the
longer run U.S. dependence on foreign sources of raw materials is likely to
increase. We should consider appropriate steps to reduce the possibility and
effectiveness of aggresive action by producers to deprive us of adequate supplies. 64
Sensing that the Administration may be regarding the Deep Seabed
Hard Minerals Act less than seriously, on June 3, 1974 Senator Lee
Metcalf and Representative Thomas N. Downing sent a letter to the
Secretary of Commerce, Frederick B. Dent (Appendix B) inquiring
about the Administration's legislative approach on nodule mining an-
nounced 15 months earlier and what progress has been made on pre-
paring an ocean mining environmental impact statement before the
end of 1975 to serve as part of the governmental decision making
process. The reply (Appendix C) indicated that NOAA was starting
to implement plans for a 3-year Deep Ocean Mining Environmental
Two months later, on August 21, as the first substantive session of
the Law of the Sea Conference was sputtering to a close without pro-
ducing anything of much substance, the Senate Interior Committee
reported S. 1134, the Deep Seabed Hard Minerals Act. with Amend-
ment No. 946 in the nature of a substitute as amended. Senate Report
93-1116 (reintroduced into the 94th Congress as S. 713. Appendix D).
The amendments to Amendment Xo. 946 are interesting in that many
of the original provisions of S. 1134 were restored or reinstated in a
modified form as follows :
(1) Restores the reciprocating State concept but does not revive
the escrow fund.
(2) Restores the license term to 15 years and if commercial re-
covery begins by then, for the duration of commercial recovery
with no time limit.
(3) Provides protection for proprietary information, deletes
the provision for public hearings, and speeds up the decision
making period for granting licenses.
(4) Removes the limit on the number of blocks held simul-
(5) Restores the international registry clearinghouse concept.
(6) Raises the schedule of minimum annual expenditures re-
quired to maintain a license prior to commercial recovery.
(7) Extends the time limit for relinquishment of 75 percent
of the block from 10 years to 15 years.
(8) Further defines the limits of compensation for loss related
to differing requirements of a future international regime.
(9) Provides for the formation of consortia by limiting United
States guarantee insurance and compensation to the portion of
the interest owned by U.S. interests.
These amendments to "the bill, as reported out of committee, reflect
many of the findings and substantive suggestions for improvement
brought out in the preceding hearings. In general, the amendments
make, the conditions for deep seabed development more favorable
for U.S. developers.
By unanimous consent, on September 4. 1974. the Senate took S. 1134
from the calendar and referred it to the Committee on Foreign Rela-
64 Ibid., p. 941.
tions from which it did not reappear during the 93d Congress. This
course was taken by the Committee on Foreign Relations in support of
the Administration position that no action should take place that might
jeopardize the continuing Law of the Sea negotiations. The bills died
with the close of the 93d Congress.
As time passed, U.S. seabed mining interests were losing patience
with the legislative process and the U.N. deliberations. Instead, they
began to seek security for future investments in the formation of
international consortia for seabed mining. The first consortium in-
volved Kennecott Copper Corporation, followed shortly by the CLB
Group and Deepsea Ventures. After final action on S. 1134 appeared
hopeless, on November 14, 1974, Deepsea Ventures. Inc. filed a "Notice
of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights and Requests for
Diplomatic Protection of Investment" (Appendix E). This notice
was filed with the relevant Federal agencies, foreign embassies, and
private corporations. The notice was accompanied by a legal brief
documenting the justification for such action based on international
precedent. While the Department of State did not officially recognize
or grant exclusive mining rights to Deepsea Ventures, it did reply
that mining of the seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction
may proceed as a freedom of the high seas under existing international
law (Appendix F).
Legislative Coxcerx in the 94th Congress
Deep seabed mining legislation was again introduced into the 94th
Congress by Representative Thomas N. Downing (H.R. 1270) on
January 14, 1975. The bill, which is essentially the same as the version
reported out of the Senate Interior Committee in the 93d Congress, was
referred to the House Committees on Merchant Marine and Fisheries
and Interior and Insular Affairs. The identical bill, S. 713, was intro-
duced into the Senate on February 18, 1975, by Senators Metcalf, Bart-
lett, Fannin, Hansen, Jackson, Johnston, and Moss. The bill was
referred to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs with the
stipulation that if and when reported the bill would be referred to the
Committees on Armed Services, Commerce, and Foreign Relations for
thirty days. The provision of a time limit of thirty days was intended
to avoid the problem in the 93d Congress of the bill's becoming indefi-
nitely tied up in another committee.
An indication that the Administration may also be starting to be-
come somewhat less optimistic about the prospects for a successful
outcome of the Law of the Sea Conference is evidenced by recent
actions by the Department of Interior. On February 25, i975 the
Department announced the formation of an Ocean Mining Adminis-
tration to promote and encourage ocean mineral resource, recovery
from the seabed and subsoil beyond the limits of national jurisdiction
(Table 21). While officially stating that he has every hope that the
Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea will be con-
cluded successfully. Secretary of the Interior Rogers C. B. Morton
The Administration, however, mindful of its responsibilities to reduce where-
ever possible our nation's vulnerability to interruptible or high cost sources of
raw materials, will have to be prepared to act through a domestic program to
secure our access to ocean minerals. We must create an investment climate which
will promote the development of this new minerals frontier while at the same
time protecting the ocean environment. 55
In a letter to Senator Metcalf dated February 24, 1975, Jack W.
Carlson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior, further explained :
We continue to be hopeful that the Third UN Law of the Sea Conference will
soon reach agreement on a satisfactory international system for managing min-
erals recovery from the seabed beyond national jurisdiction. In that event, the
new Ocean Mining Administration will be in place to begin immediately the com-
prehensive task of harmonizing our programs with those established through the
treaty. However, I believe that we must also be prepared if the Law of the Sea
Conference does not reach a timely and successful conclusion, given our responsi-
bilities to reduce wherever possible the Xation*s dependence on foreign sources of
raw materials. 56 '
Leigh S. Ratiner. who has been Director of the Ocean Mining Devel-
opment Office on the staff of the Assistant Secretary — Energy and
Minerals, was appointed Administrator of the Ocean Mining Adminis-
tration. Mr. Ratiner has been actively concerned in possible deep sea-
bed mining legislation for several years.
TABLE 21.— FUNCTIONS OF THE OCEAN MINING ADMINISTRATION
Under a law of the sea treaty
Under a domestic program
Prepare and finalize environmental
impact statement in close coordi-
nation with NOAA.
Supervise technology and resource
Draft ocean mining regulations for
both domestic and international
Continue active role in international
negotiations on the law of the sea.
Insure compliance by ocean miners with
Process mining applications by U.S. na-
tionals and coordinate with international
Promulgate regulations complimentary to
those of authority.
Promulgate regulations for submission of
Promote development of knowledge about
Insure U.S. participation in international
programs for technical assistance in
Assist international authority in environ-
Nominate and supply U.S. experts to serve
on international authority's commissions.
Review international authority's regulations.
Implement investment risk insurance pro-
Comply with national environmental
Policy Act: Review need for addi-
tional study before issuing mining
Promulgate ocean mining regulations.
Issue mining authorizations and
Coordinate U.S. ocean mining regula-
tions with those of other nations
engaging in ocean mining.
Establish investment risk insurance
Continue environmental studies and
technology and resource assess-
Late in September 1975 the Department of Commerce established an
Office of Marine Minerals (OOMM) within NOAA. The new office,
headed by Amoi L. Lane, will serve as the focal point for NOAA's
new and expanding programs in marine minerals. The Deep Ocean
Mining Environmental Study (DOMES) is the major project now
under the new office.
Hearings were held on S. 713 on November 7. 1975 at which time
industry representatives were asked to describe the current state of the
art for nodule mining and discuss needs that could be met through
Congressional action.' 7 Mr. Maine A. Dubs. Director of the Ocean
55 Metcalf. Lee. Ocean Floor Mining. Congressional Record, Feb. 26, 1975, p. S 2711.
66 Ibid., p. S2711.
57 I'.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular \(Tairs. Current Develop
ments in Deep Seabed Mining. Hearing before the Subcommittee on Minerals, Material*
and Fuels. 94th Congress, 1st sess., Nov. 7, li>7"). Washington, D.C., D.8. Govt. Print. Off..
1**7 .1 . Part I. 240 p.
Resources Department of Kennecott Copper Corp., speaking on be-
half of the American Mining Congress described the general position
of seabed mining interests as follows : (1) some 200 potentially commer-
cial mine sites have been identified but development without investment
protection is financially very risky; (2) metallurgical problems of
winning metals from nodules have largely been solved and tested at
pilot plant level, but in order to design a commercial plant tests need
to be run with nodules from a specific mine site; (3) mining systems
have been tested at sea and there is no longer any doubt about the tech-
nical and economic feasibility of ocean mining. However, without pro-
tection from the risk that the industry will no longer be able to mine or
would have investments impaired from financial burdens as a result of
a LOS Treaty agreed to by the United States, and insurance against
interference by foreign governments or firms against which there are
no legal remedies available, mining interests are unwilling to commit
the large expenditures necessary to enter into commercial mining
Mr. John L. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., stated that
his firm has already slowed down its mining program to the point
where it is now about two years behind the schedule it had originally
set. Industry spokesmen suggested that if U.S. firms were to falter,
deep ocean mining would likely proceed under the leadership of for-
eign members of the consortia, most of whom are subsidized by their
When asked whether an insurance type of bill rather than a licens-
ing scheme would provide sufficient investment incentive for deep sea-
bed mining, Mr. Flipse informed the Committee that this fall-back
position mainly assures the banks of getting their money back. How-
ever, the mining companies are interested in anticipating profits and
could invest in other things such as risk- free securities if the onlv in-
vestment security for deep sea mining would be to cover any loss from
Mr. C. Thomas Houseman, Vice President and Technical Director,
Mining, of the Chase Manhattan Bank, stated that with no legislation,
he could not recommend to his bank that they invest in deep seabed
mining. However, he agreed that an insurance bill would satisfy the
bank's requirements for lending capital in an ocean mining venture.
Mr. Dubs suggested that an insurance scheme must somehow be tied
into a sustained nodule supply and that a grandfather clause would
have to be tied into anv LOS Treaty he would want the United States
to sign. He suggested that licensing might be used as a means of obtain-
ing insurance under an insurance bill.
Something on the order of a 10-year financing package would be
needed for ocean mining (four years for the investment in and con-
struction of equipment, and six years cashflow from the project to
retire the outstanding debt). Not only do banks and mining companies
take a long term view, but there is a growing concern over dependency
on foreign imports of mineral resources. As Senator Metcalf pointed
As you know, the members of this committee have a real interest in deep-sea
mining, and are not so concerned with whether or not you people are going to
get your money back.
We are concerned with the development of the resources, and encouraging you
to go forward with providing the United States with resources that are in very
scarce supply. And as we look ahead, it looks as if we are going to be in the same
situation insofar as many of these valuable mineral resources as we are in oil
and in other energy sources . . .
I don't think we would be very much interested here in the Congress in this
legislation unless we were thinking and hoping that we were going to insure an
additional supply of very valuable and important and scarce mineral resources
in the years ahead to keep our economy going. 58
As a result of reorganization and new committee assignments in the
House, Congressman John M. Murphy, Chairman of the Subcommittee
on Oceanography, now has jurisdiction over deep seabed mining legis-
lation in place of Congressman Downing. Congressman Murphy is
expected to introduce and hold hearings on a new deep seabed mining
bill early in the 2nd session of the 94th Congress. Action in the Senate
is also expected early in the 2nd session.
w Ibid., p. 19-20.
VIII. INTERNATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
Possible Cartel Action
The contribution to the U.S. trade deficit from imports of cobalt,
copper, manganese and nickel raw materials totaled over $1.1 billion
in 1972 and is steadily increasing. 1 Faced with Americans growing
dependence on imports for most of the key raw materials consumed,
the reliability of supplies from mineral exporting countries is being
closely scrutinized. A number of recent articles have pointed out that
several "third world" or developing countries have a sizable potential
for exercising controlled market power. 2 3 For example, four coun-
tries (Chile. Peru, Zambia and Zaire) control more than 80 percent
of the copper exports on the world market, and have already organized
the Inter-governmental Council of Copper Exporting Countries
(CIPEC) to coordinate their oligopoly power. C. Fred Bergsten.
senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, suggests that the cartel
formed by the oil exporting countries is the prototype that will lead
to the formation of other commodity cartels. He speculates further
that unified action by exporters of different commodities, such as
bauxite and copper, would reduce the threat of substitution.
However, a number of obstacles arise to the formation of commodity
cartels. One obstacle is the economic option of using substitutes for
some commodities as mentioned above. The solution of coordinating
exports of several commodities, as Bergsten poses, only compounds a
second and more difficult problem of achieving adequate cooperation
among suppliers. Unlike the OPEC countries, the metal-exporting,
non-industrialized countries do not have a surfeit of funds which can
permit them to withhold or reduce supply for an indefinite period of
time. In addition, the mineral exporting nations are of much more
divergent economic, political, historical, and cultural backgrounds
such that their chances of reaching a common agreement to withhold
supply or produce an effective cartel are seriously limited. Another
deterrent to establishing a producer cartel is the ability of consumer
nations to stockpile some materials.
Some observers maintain that commonly shared social or political
values are not essential to the formation of a cartel. Instead, mutual
economic incentives are considered the primary motivation. It is also
suggested that producer nations, frustrated in attempting to achieve
other goals, may resort to extreme or even irrational policies in the
management of their mineral resources. Should this happen, during
a period of growing demand and overall scarcities, major consumer
'U.S. Bureau of Mines. Data in: Bullis. L. H. Domestic Raxc Material* Resources. Pro
duction, and Demand vix-a-ris Imports From Abroad. Conp. Research Service Multllith.
HF 1045, May 3, H»74. p. 28-31.
2 Bergrsten, C. F. The Threat From the Third World. Foreign Policy. No. 11, summer
1973. Reprinted in Mineral Resources of the Deep Seahed Part IT, op. cit., p. 815-818.
3 Fish, Sidney. Third World Goods Price Rise Feared. (New York) Journal of Commerce
and Commercial, Dec. 27, 107.3. Reprinted in Mineral Resources of the Deep Seabed Part
TI. op. cit., p. 803-805.
nations could be faced with reduced materials imports and higher
Others maintain that the OPEC example represents a unique case
and cannot be duplicated by other industrial raw materials. 4 The
demand for petroleum is, at least in the short term, much less respon-
sive to price increases because the industrialized world is heavily de-
pendent on petroleum and alternative energy sources are not readily
available. Also, it is claimed, the OPEC success was facilitated by the
corporate behavior of the major oil companies, a situation not dupli-
cated by other commodities. 5
A State Department study titled Raw Materials Other Than Oil as
Economic 'Weapons Against the United States and Other Major Con-
sumers concluded that countries exporting critical raw materials such
as copper and bauxite may be tempted to follow the example of the
cartel of the oil producing countries by restricting production and
raising prices, but they will probably be unsuccessful for lack of com-
mon economic and political objectives. For example, through lack of
cooperation from Chile, the largest copper producer in CIPEC. the
organization has not been effective. Chilean officials fear that the world
economic situation would be further stressed by increased copper
prices and limited output, which would damage Chile's economic in-
terests in the long run. The State Department study pointed out :
The long-run interests of producers of all raw materials lie in not doing per-
manent harm to the economic well-being of the industrial countries. They threat-
en these interests only in extremis as perceived in terms of their own national
interest. Only extreme and exceptional circumstances have enabled the Arab
producing countries to stand more or less united on prices. On other issues they
are still often at odds. 8
Furthermore, the study suggests that even quite substantial price
increases will result in relative small increases in prices of most fin-
ished products. In the long-run, with the single exception of diamonds,
the few cartels which have held together were rarely able to garner
significant windfalls for themselves. The avoidance of cutthroat com-
petition among the members has been the major accomplishment of
cartels in the past. However, others maintain that past failures took
place largely during periods when buyers' markets existed for most
commodities, whereas at present, sellers' markets appear to be the rule. 7
Among the conditions listed in the State Department study for effec-
tive producer power were :
1. Producer control over a substantial share of world produc-
tion entering into international trade ;
2. Financial resources adequate to cover the loss of export earn-
ings involved in restricting exports;
3. Inability of consumers to develop alternative sources of sup-
ply in short and medium-term ;
4. Absence of consumer stockpiles ;
5. Limited possibilities for substitution by synthetic or other
natural materials : and
4 Krasner, S. D. One, Two, Many OPEC's . . . ? Oil is the Exception. Foreign Policy,
Xo. 14, Spring 1974, p. 79.
5 Ibid., p. 77-78.
6 Department of State Memorandum, Jan. 22, 1974. In Mineral Resources of the Deep.
Seabed Part II op. cit., p. 943.
T Berjrsten, C. F. One. Two, Many OPEC's * * * ? (3) The Threat is Real. Foreign
Policy, No. 14. Spring 1974, p. 85.
6. Political objectives and economic situations that are similar
among producers, a condition which implies a relatively small
number of producers.
Using these criteria the State Department analyzed the market sit-
uation for several industrial raw materials and found little likelihood
of a serious threat to the United States. With regard to manganese ore,
the principal sources for the United States are South Africa, Gabon,
Brazil, and Zaire. India is another major producer. The likelihood of
this group forming an effective cartel was considered small, but sup-
pliers to the U.S. market were individually able to obtain substantially
higher prices in recent negotiations despite releases from the GSA
stockpile as a bargaining measure.
A copper cartel. CIPEC, has existed since 1967, but thus far has
failed to function effectively as a bargaining group. Copper prices
reached a record high in the second quarter of 1974 due to factors
unrelated to cartel action, and prices have been declining since. The
United States is a major copper producer and would be less affected by
a successful copper cartel than other industrialized countries.
Cobalt is produced as a byproduct and cartel of cobalt exporting
countries would have to depend to some extent on the mining and
processing of iron, copper, and nickel. Among the developing coun-
tries producing cobalt, that could possibly form a cartel, are Zambia,
Zaire. Morocco, and Cuba. It is not considered likely that the United
States would be significantly affected by a cobalt cartel of these coun-
tries. Although we import essentially all the cobalt we consume, the
total requirement is relatively small, and other producers are available.
Exports from Canada account for most of the nickel consumed in
the United States. Developing countries, primarily Cuba and Indo-
nesia, produce only 13 percent of the world mine production of nickel.
A nickel cartel that did not include Canada would hardly be con-
sidered effective, especially against the United States. However, al-
though Canadian and U.S. friendship has strong diplomatic, cultural,
and strategic ties, Canada is becoming increasingly independent in
foreign policy and economic diplomacy. Canada is reassessing its role
as a raw mineral exporter and attempting to increase Canadian owner-
ship of foreign investments.
A report prepared by the Congressional Research Service titled,
Domestic Raw Materials Resources. Production, and Demsind vis-a-vis
Imports From Abroad* concluded :
In general, the situation regarding potential formation of materials cartels by
Third World nations is unclear. Powerful arguments can be raised on both sides
of the question * * * However, in view of the increasing dependence of the
United States upon many of these cartel-candidate materials, it is clear that the
possibility of cartels cannot be dismissed out of hand. 8
Thus far. the discussion of cartels has concerned only present land-
based mineral exporting countries. The position taken by the Group
of 77. representing about 100 developing countries, in the Third U.N.
Law of the Sea Conference, would establish a regime that would give
the United Nations a "cartel" with essentially arbitrary powers in deep
seabed mining and metal production. The United States and delegates
of other industrialized countries are generally opposed to vesting this
8 Bullis, op. cit.. pp. 19-20.
degree of authority in a United Nations body controlled by nations
whose interests are frequently opposed to our own.
United Nations Activities and Kelations
United Nations involvement in the deep seabed has included direct
funding for nodule surveys and sponsoring conferences on the Law of
the Sea to establish an international legal framework for deep ocean
The United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far
East (ECAFE), through its Committee for Coordination of Joint
Prospecting for Mineral Resources in South Pacific Offshore Areas,
is funding two nodule survey projects. These are in the vicinity of
Tonga, Western Samoa, and Fiji who are interested in locating com-
mercial nodule deposits near their shores. 9
FIRST AND SECOND LAW OF THE SEA CONFERENCES
Four Conventions on the Law of the Sea were signed in Geneva in
1958 to codify international agreements regarding ocean space and
national rights. A second conference was convened in 1960, but no
additional agreements were reached. Consequently, these conferences
and the resulting conventions left unresolved a number of questions
and issues. One issue that was not resolved was the breadth of the
territorial sea. Another related issue concerned the preferential rights
of coastal states to the resources of the sea and deep seabed immediately
beyond their territorial limit. The Convention on the Continental
Shelf left open the area subject to a future international regime by
incorporating an ambiguous definition of the continental shelf. The
continental shelf was defined as "the seabed and subsoil of the sub-
marine areas adjacent to the coast but outside the area of the territorial
sea, to a depth of 200 meters or. beyond that limit, to where the depth
of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural
resources of the said areas.'' 10 As technology pushed exploitability
to greater and greater depths, the elasticity clause become more signifi-
cant. However most authorities agree there is some point at which the
seabed is beyond national jurisdiction. Debate mainly revolves around
the concepts of whether the deep sea resources are nobody's property
(res nullius), and therefore in principle subject to national appropria-
tion, or everybody's property (res communis) and therefore not sub-
ject to any individual nation's appropriation or sovereignty.
On August 17, 1967, the Permanent Mission of Malta to the United
Nations submitted a proposal urging that the resource wealth of the
oceans be regarded as the "common heritage of mankind" to be used
for the benefit, and in the interest, of mankind particularly developing
nations. While the United States supported the U.N. resolution to
this effect, statements by the U.S. State Department representatives
have cautioned that "common heritage" does not mean "common
» ECAFE, op. cit., pp. 33-38.
M1B U.S.T. at 473. T.I. AS. No. 5578, 499 U.N.T.S. at 312.
"U.S. Congress. Sonate. Committee on Commerce. "L»w of the Sea. H^rim? before the
Snhcommlttpe on Oeenns and Atmosphere. 992d Cong., 2d sess. Oct. 3, 1972. Washington,
D.C. : U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1972, p. 8.
An immediate outcome of the Malta proposal was a resolution, dated
December 18, 1967, by which the U.N. General Assembly created an
Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Peaceful Uses of the Seabed and the
Ocean Floor Beyond the Limits of Xational Jurisdiction (the Seabed
Committee). On December 21, 1968, one year and many background
reports later, the General Assembly granted the Ad Hoc Committee
permanent standing committee status. During its 1969 sessions the
Seabed Committee determined to learn more about the content and
location of the mineral wealth beneath the sea. Studies indicated that
the major deep seabed resource beyond the continental shelves was
ferromanganese nodules of which little was known of the costs of
recovery and benefaction. Indications were that the nodule deposits
could represent a vast untapped mineral wealth.
Many developing countries believed that the only effective way to
share in this wealth would be to prevent the industrialized countries
from proceding to exploit the deep seabed. This strategy involved
securing the adoption of four resolutions in the 1969 session of the
U.N. General Assembly. The first of these resolutions, 2574 A
(XXIV), requested the Secretary General to poll the member coun-
tries on the desirability of convening a Law of the Sea Conference in
which the area of the seabed beyond national jurisdiction would be
defined and a regime established to administer the development of
this area. Resolution 2574 B (XXIV) requested the U.X. Seabed
Committee to prepare a set of legal principles governing the seabed
bevond national jurisdiction to be presented at the next session of the
General Assembly. The Secretary General was also requested. Resolu-
tion 2574 C (XXIV), to review the various types of international
machinery for a seabed regime. Passage of this resolution demon-
strated that the developing countries were not interested in the pre-
vious report of the Secretary General that suggested a licensing or
registration system rather than an operating agency. The final and
most controversial resolution. 2574 D (XXIV) , declared a moratorium
on all exploitation of the seabed resources pending the establishment
of an international deep seabed regime. Debate on this resolution high-
lighted the frustration of the developed nations in dealing with the
growing majority of increasingly outspoken underdeveloped coun-
tries. The 1969 Moratorium Resolution was passed by a vote of 62 to
28 with 28 abstentions. The United States and other industrialized
countries voted against the resolution. With passage of the Morato-
rium Resolution, the record was made clear that U.N. resolutions are
onlv recommendations to governments and are not leirallv binding.
On December 17. 1970 the U.N. General Assemblv adopted by a vote
of 108 to with 14 abstentions, the "Declaration of Legal Principles".
Resolution 2749 (XXV). which stated:
The seabed and ocean floor, and the subsoil thereof, beyond the limits of na-
tional jurisdiction (hereinafter referred to as the area), as well as the resources
of the area, are the common heritage of mankind. 12
The United States voted for this resolution. Another principle in the
Declaration restated the concept of an international regime for de-
veloping the seabed but did not attempt to define the type of regime.
"United Nations Doc A/6228, 1970.
U.N. RELATIONS AND THE THIRD LAW OF THE SEA CONFERENCE
The decision to convene a Third U.N. Conference on the Law of
the Sea was formally made by the 25th U.N. General Assembly in
December 1970 (U.N.G.A. Res. 2750 C (XXV)). A two- week orga-
nizational meeting of the Conference was subsequently scheduled to
be held in New York in 1973 followed in 1974 by an eight-week sub-
stantive session in Santiago, Chile (later rescheduled for Caracas,
Venezuela). The Seabed Committee was requested to prepare a com-
prehensive list of subjects and issues relating to the Law of the Sea
and draft articles on these issues. In deliberations throughout the
July and August 1971 session of the Seabed Committee, many pro-
posals were set forth, but there was little agreement as to the form
of control the international seabed regime should exercise. Debate
centered on the type of regime, the machinery to regulate it, whether
it should be independent or under the aegis of the United Nations,
and the powers of the machinery. Suggestions for the machinery to
regulate seabed mining include: (1) a registration system; (2) a li-
censing system ; (3) an international monopoly wherein the regime can
directly exploit resources; (4) a combination of direct operating au-
thority by the regime, and licensing and/or registration by individual
The U.S. working paper detailed the structure for a strong inter-
national regime with the power to issue licenses on a nondiscriminatory
basis to states and enterprises sponsored by states and procedures for
compulsory settlement of disputes. Most of the developed nations
also favored some form of licensing arrangement. On the other hand,
the delegate from Trinidad and Tobago in summarizing the Latin
American working paper stated, "The concept of a licensing or con-
cession svstem is in our view inconsistent with the principle of common
heritage" 13 and advocated the direct exploitation concept to be de-
veloped initially through joint ventures or profit sharing arrange-
ments. Spokesmen for the Soviet Bloc proposed a small agency with
a small professional staff to provide administrative oversight of deep
Durimr the years prior to the convening of the first session of the
Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference in 1973, the U.S. negotiating
position underwent a major change in emphasis. From the time it was
first formally announced in 1970, the U.S. position on the Law of the
Sea met with opposition not only internationally but also at home. The
initial position primarily reflected the strategic interests of the De-
partment of Defense. This called for a renunciation of national claims
to seabed resources beyond the depth of 200 meters and the establish-
ment, beyond this point, of an international regime to govern the ex-
ploitation of seabed resources. This limit to seaward extension of the
continental shelf boundary reflected military fears of expansion of
coastal state sovereignty to ultimately close off U.S. military access to
coastal areas and straits around the world and limit the placement
of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) detection devices. The military in-
fluence even extended to advocating limited preferential rights for
coastal nations over the fishery resources off their shores.
"United Nations. Report of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of the Seabed and the
Ocean Floor Beyond the Limits of Nitioml Jurisdiction, General Assembly, Official Records,
26th session, supplement No. 21 A/8421, New York, 1971, p. 21.
As domestic industries became more active in the formulation of
ocean policy, the priority accorded the military interests became more
restricted. Whereas the military previously intervened in seabed as
well as fisheries policy, it became largely restricted to policy inputs
relating directly to military mobility — to straits and territorial sea
boundaries affecting navigation. In response to strong industry pres-
sure, an Advisory Committee on the Law of the Sea. consisting of 60
representatives of the industrial and scientific communities, was formed
in early 1972. The official purpose of the Advisory Committee was to
advise the head of the U.S. delegation to the U.X. Seabed Committee
in the areas of petroleum, hard minerals, marine science, interna-
tional law and relations, fisheries, international finance and taxation,
marine environment, and maritime industries. The input from these
domestic interests coupled with strong international pressures was
apparent in the statements made by the chairman of the U.S. delega-
tion to the Seabed Committee, Ambassador John R. Stevenson, on
August 10, 1972 which placed a new emphasis on the national interest
in ocean resources. Shifting from an earlier position stressing a species
approach for international regulation of all fishing, the U.S. delega-
tion indicated that it would accept coastal state management of coastal
and anadromous species. Furthermore, the United States abandoned
its position on a 200 meter isobath limit of national jurisdiction. The
United States would accept coastal state regulation of mineral re-
sources to the outer edge of the continental shelf or some specified dis-
tance from shore with other uses of the area unrestricted and pollution
controls to be internationally determined. Another factor possibly in-
fluencing the shift in U.S. naval concerns is the development of new
Trident submarine missiles with ranges up to 6.000 miles, reducing the
need for submarines to enter straits-closed seas.
The first session of the Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference con-
vened in Xew York in November 1973 with discussion centering on
procedural matters. Many of these were left unresolved and two addi-
tional weeks were added to the beginning of the Caracas session in
1974 for discussion of these matters. The initial lack of agreement on
voting procedures and other preliminary matters marked an inau-
spicious beginning for the Conference, and to some observers suggested
great difficulties would arise in reaching future substantive agreements.
In Caracas, the establishment of an international regime for deep
seabed mineral exploitation was debated in Committee I. While the
determination of the limits of national jurisdiction was placed in
Committee IT of the Conference, these limits bear directly on the work
of Committee T. The major positions on this issue, as reflected in the
first article of the draft proposals before Committee I. were (1) the
limits of the Area (subject to international control of seabed resources )
would be seaward of the limit of national jurisdiction established at
the 500 meter isobath or 100 nautical miles from the coastal states
baselines: (2) the limits of the Area would be the seaward limit of
a Coastal Seabed Area of a breadth to be specified: and (3) the Area
would commence at the lower edge of the continental margin or, if
the edge were closer than 200 miles of the coast, then from a distance
of 200 miles of the coast. In general, developing countries maintained
claims to sovereignty or sovereign rights in a zone of 200 miles while
allowing others only freedom of navigation, rights to lay cables and
pipelines, and the right to conduct scientific research subject to coastal
State consent. Most developed countries would prefer a 12 mile terri-
torial limit with the 200 mile area being an exclusive economic zone
of the coastal state subject to international high seas freedoms. The
coastal state would have the exclusive right only to explore for and to
exploit living and non-living resources on and under the seabed and in
the water column. A related unresolved issue is the question of the
extent to which landlocked states and geographically disadvantaged
states might be permitted to exploit the area within coastal state juris-
diction, or even traverse that area in order to reach international
Another area of disagreement is over the activities to be governed by
the draft seabed treaty. One view suggests that all activities of what-
ever nature and scope (even, by implication, those unrelated to seabed
mining) should be regulated. Another proposal is that only explora-
tion and exploitation of the resources of the Area and other related
activities should be covered. A third approach limits regulated activ-
ities to "industrial exploration and exploitation", thus leaving scientific
research unconnected with these commercial activities free from
The exploitation system resolved into three maior issues: (1) Who
may exploit the area, (2) the conditions of exploitation, and (3) the
economic aspects of exploitation. Several draft proposals were con-
sidered. Although differing in details, most draft proposals on the
organizational structure of the international agency suggest: (1) an
"Assembly" consisting of all parties to the treaty; (2) an executive
"Council" with restricted membership but nevertheless representative
of all major interests; (3) a Secretariat; and (4) an operational arm
variously termed the "Enterprise," "Operations Commission," "Ex-
ploitation Commission," or "Permanent Board." The basic difference
in approach is in the location of the voting power or decisionmaking
authority within the organizational structure. The developing coun-
tries, because of their numerical superiority, support the concept of
"one country one vote" and, thus, would place the decisionmaking
power in the Assembly. The Council would carry out the day-to-day
business of the organization within closely drawn policy lines deter-
mined by the Assembly.
The other basic position is to place the major executive power in
the Council with authority for considerable flexibility in conducting
the business of the organization. Various commissions could be estab-
lished to advise the Council on technical and scientific matters. In this
view, the Assembly would be primarily the political body to approve
very broad policy issues. Most developed countries support this basic
Another difference in the draft proposals concerns the composition
of the Council. The issue revolves around whether the Council should
reflect accurately the political alignments and strengths of the Assem-
bly or be weighted in some fashion to consider those intersts who have
the technology and financial resources required for seabed exploita-
tion. A third approach, supported by the Soviet bloc, favors voting
within the Council on the basis of equitable geographic representation
(giving the developing countries two-thirds of the seats on the Coun-
cil) while requiring a unanimous vote or "common agreement" for de-
cisions on substantive issues.
Three basic concepts have been suggested for the functions of the
international agency. One proposal, basically the U.S. position, would
empower the agency to issue licenses directly to the exploiting entity,
whether state, private, or state-sponsored private. Under this system
the agency would establish general rules for safe and orderly exploita-
tion and exercise minimal control over the operations of the licensee.
The international organization itself would not engage in exploration
Another proposal, representing the position of the Group of 77,
would establish an Enterprise with a monopoly of seabed exploration
and exploitation as an arm of the international organization. The
Enterprise would completely control seabed exploitation, initially,
through qualified state agencies or other entities and, eventually, en-
tirely through its own funds, equipment, and personnel.
The third basic concept, somewhere between the other two, proposes
an agency with the power not only to issue licenses, but also, at some
future time, to develop the capability to explore and exploit seabed
resources on its own in competition with state or private entities. This
system is reflected in proposals to establish a Management and Devel-
opment Commission, an International Seabed Operations Organiza-
tion, and an Exploration and Production Agency of the organization.
The critical difference in these three concepts is in degree of control
the international agency will exercise, through an appropriate organ,
over seabed exploration and exploitation activities, and how much
control will best obtain the maximum benefit for, and maximum pro-
tection of. the interests of mankind as a whole.
The United States took the position that the convention must
guarantee access on a nondiscriminatory basis to deep seabed re-
sources. Guaranteed access includes a requirement that mining rights
be granted automatically to any qualified applicant. Furthermore, the
United States advocated that the whole system for granting rights
should be carefully structured in the treaty to insure that the system
would be economically efficient and that' exploitation would occur
under a set of detailed conditions written into the treaty to guarantee
the security of exploitation necessary to attract investments. Among
the conditions stipulated was an application fee not to exceed $50,000
for which the miner would receive the exclusive right to mine a tract
not to exceed 30,000 square kilometers per area applied for. Other con-
ditions required meeting a prescribed minimum time and expenditure
schedule for progressing through evaluation to development.
In considering the economic effects of nodule mining on the econ-
omies of developing country metal producers, the United States op-
posed price and production controls on seabed operations. Uncertain-
ties surrounding the estimates of economic damage to developing
countries producing manganese, copper, nickel, and cobalt add to the
politics of the issue. Some representatives of developing countries also
stated that price and production controls which maintain artificially
higher prices would not be desirable.
The Group of 77 (now 10fi developing countries) formed a bargain-
ing team to support a mutually acceptable draft treaty representing
65-675 O - 76 - 8
their interests. Initially, their position, although not unanimous,
would only allow nodule exploitation directly by an international au-
thority. Early in the session at Caracas, after negotiating among them-
selves, the Group of 77 introduced a new alternative text allowing the
Authority to enter into contractual arrangements with private entities.
Under this proposal the Authority would still retain direct and effec-
tive control over all activities. While this proposal is still not accept-
able to the United States, it does represent recognition that at least in
the early years of its existence the Authority could not develop the
financial and technical capability to mine the seabeds.
In regard to the conditions of exploitation, the Group of 77 would
grant the Authority far greater discretion in managing seabed opera-
tions than the United States could accept. Their draft would allow the
Authority to discriminate among various ocean miners and to impose
arbitrary and unreasonable terms and conditions. Other draft pro-
posals by Japan and the European Economic Community permit li-
censing only to states rather than directly to private entities.
Following his return from Caracas, Ambassador John K. Stevenson
testified before a joint meeting of the Subcommittee on Minerals, Ma-
terials and Fuels of the Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee
and the National Ocean Policy Study of the Commerce Committee on
September 17, 1974, stating :
As in other areas of the law of the sea, the United States has sought in the
deep seabed negotiation to protect its principal national interest in access to these
mineral resources not by sweeping generalities written into treaty articles, but
rather by setting out detailed provisions that explicitly prescribe how the system
will work, what will be the rights and obligations of both the international ma-
chinery established to govern exploitation and the prospective ocean miners who
will do business under the system and what kinds of safeguards will be provided
for ensuring that these respective rights and obligations are protected and ful-
filled. Nevertheless, it is clear that inclusion in the convention of a detailed min-
ing code alone would not fully protect our interest in guaranteed access, and thus
the United States position also depends on achieving an appropriate balance in
decision-making organs that realistically reflect existing interests, as well as pro-
viding machinery for the compulsory settlement of disputes. 14
In conclusion, Ambassador Stevenson summed up the seabed mining
deliberations in Caracas by saying, "Committee I is perhaps our most
difficult negotiation, rooted as it is in widely differing political and
economic interests." 15
While negotiations at the first substantive session of the Law of the
Sea Conference in Caracas did not produce a treaty for deep seabed
exploitation, they did affirm general agreement on broad principles
and reduce the number of alternatives to choose from. Among the
major policy objectives expressed were:
1. Encouraging the development of nodule resources. It was
generally agreed that development of nodule resources is in the
interest of mankind as it is questionable whether known land-
based resources are sufficient to sustain long-term continued
growth in material consumption.
2. Minimizing the impact of nodule mining on mineral exports
of developing countries. Development of seabed resources will
"U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on
Minerals, Materials, and Fuels. Status Report on law of the Sea Conference. Hearings Part
2, Sept. 17, 1974, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, 1974, p. 853-854.
15 Ibid., p. 863.
have an impact on the export earnings of a number of developing
countries. Some forms of compensation, commodity agreements, or
controlled nodule development were often advocated.
3. Ensuring the participation of developing countries in the
nodule industry. The large capital requirements and sophisticated
technical ability required for nodule mining would limit the in-
dustry to developed countries. Some form of participation is de-
sired by developing countries, perhaps secured by restricting
nodule mining to direct exploitation by an international authority.
A more direct participation could be attained through joint ven-
tures if a developing country had some capital to risk.
4. Securing revenues for the international authority. Since most
of the benefits from nodule mining would accrue to the industrial
nations who would mine nodules, revenues for the international
authority well in excess of operating expenses could be extracted
from nodule miners. On the other hand, the view was expressed
that high revenues may be used to the benefit of less developed
countries in the short term but may add to higher prices for manu-
factured goods, which would be detrimental to developing coun-
tries in the longer term.
5. Preservation of the marine environment. Prevention of pollu-
tion and contamination in the marine environment is a concern
of most nations. Research, equipment design, and establishing
proper operating procedures prior to nodule mining activities
would be expected to minimize pollution potential. This could
be enforced through an international regime.
6. Conservation of nodule resources. Although nodule deposits
are continually forming and the current economically recoverable
reserves are extensive, care must be taken to protect and conserve
Many of the above policy objectives are to some extent conflicting.
It is whether or not agreement can be reached on the delicate balance
and trade-offs of these objectives in consideration of the widely dif-
fering economic and political interests of many nations that will
determine any future seabed treaty.
The second substantive session of the Third United Nations Law of
the Sea Conference was held in Geneva from March 17 to May 0, 1975.
The session concentrated on the translation of general outlines of
agreement into an informal single negotiating (not negotiated) text
covering virtually all the issues before the Conference. This text was
finally prepared by the chairmen of the three main committees as pro-
posed by the Conference President to "take account of the formal and
informal discussions held so far.''
In reporting on the progress in Geneva to the Senate Interior and
Insular Affairs Committee joint meeting of the Subcommittee on Min-
erals, Materials and Fuels, on June 4. 1975. Ambassador Emeritus
John R. Stevenson again found "it is now clear that the negotiation
on the nature of the deep seabed regime and authority is the principal
stumbling block to a comprehensive Law of the Sea Treaty." He
The United States explored a number of approaches in an effort to tie forth-
coming with respect to developing country demands for participating in the
exploitation system. We indicated our willingness to abandon the inclusion of
detailed regulatory provisions in the treaty and to concentrate on basic conditions
of exploitation. We agreed to consider a system of joint ventures and profit
sharing with the Authority. In addition, we proposed for consideration the reser-
vation of areas (equal in extent and potential to those in which financial condi-
tions were subject to the Basic Conditions) in which the Authority could nego-
tiate for the most favorable financial terms it could obtain. The Soviet Union
proposed a parallel system through the reservation of areas in which the Author-
ity could exploit directly, while in other areas states could exploit under a
separate system of regulation by the Authority. Both approaches were rejected
by the Group of 77. Some developing country flexibility in the deep seabeds was
demonstrated by their willingness to submit the entire exploitation system to the
control of the Seabed Authority Council and to include representatives of desig-
nated developed and developing country interest groups on that body in addi-
tion to those selected on the basis of equitable geographic representation. 16
In the same hearings Mr. John Norton Moore, Chairman, National
Security Council's Interagency Task Force on the Law of the Sea and
Deputy Special Representative of the President for the Conference on
the Law of the Sea, stated that "it is now clear that the negotiations
cannot be completed before mid 1976 at the earliest and at this time
it is not clear whether or not a treaty can be completed during 1976."
The Conference agreed to schedule the next session in New York for
eight weeks beginning March 29, 1976. In the meantime, Ambassador
Moore testified that the executive branch was "now conducting a
thorough reevaluation of our interim policy. . . . We hope to com-
plete our study and consultations by, or soon after, the August Con-
gressional recess at which time we will submit to the Congress not
only our recommendations concerning interim legislation, but also a
full and frank evaluation of the factors that we have weighted." 17
Acting in response to this informal commitment, on October 29,
1975, Senator Metcalf convened the fourth hearing before his Subcom-
mittee on the status of negotiations at the U.N. Law T of the Sea Con-
ference. Speaking for the Administration, Carlyle E. Maw, interim
chief of the U.S. delegation, reported that the review 7 of the U.S. posi-
tion would not be completed for a matter of months, but certainly be-
fore the March session in New York. For the first time, the Adminis-
tration indicated some flexibility on the issue of whether passage of
legislation would prejudice or preempt the Law T of the Sea Conference.
In response to questions from Senator Metcalf and Congressman
Downing, Mr. Maw agreed that while it would depend on the specifics
of the bill, legislation could possibly serve as a catalyst for negotiations.
Mr. LeiglTS. Ratiner, Administrator of the Ocean Mining Adminis-
tration of the Department of Interior, summarized the problem of
finding some way to convince the developing countries of the firmness
of our position and that it is time to make reasonable compromise.
While not endorsing any legislation he stated :
We have said in the past that the bill which you introduced under circumstances
prevailing, say a year ago, or two years ago, would be harmful to the negotia-
tions. And I have, myself, said so at this table.
Senator Metcalf. Let me interrupt. We have also, both in open hearings and
in conferences, told you and told the other representatives that we would modify
the legislation as we could to try to help you in your negotiations, isn't that
Mr. Ratiner. Yes, sir.
"U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs S " boom ™Vl e e ° n
Minerals. Materials and Fuels. Hearings. Status Report on Law of the Sea Conference.
Hearing. Part 3. Washington, June 4, 1975, p. 1173-74.
17 Ibid., p. 1175.
Mr. Maw. Mr. Chairman, may I interject here? This is the problem that we
have very much in mind and which we are straggling with in our review. It
depends of course — the effect of the legislation depends on the legislation. It
depends upon the timing. It depends upon so many things.
That is why we want to consult with you, and as we develop our program for
the oncoming session, we will come to you with the pros and cons. In strictest con-
fidence, we have not resolved these issues as of this moment unfortunately, and I
do not think we can resolve them within the next fortnight or two months. 18
The value of passing legislation that would encourage U.S. deep
seabed mining ventures and be an aid to the U.S. position at the LOS
Conference was emphasized by Senator Metcalf :
If Congress passes a bill and the decision at the White House is to veto such
a bill, I think we would have hindered our negotiations. And I do not think that
we would want to do that. We want to work with the administration. We want
to work with you people in finally getting our nationals out there mining the
seabed, recovering this resource.
When are we going to know then what you are going to decide? It has been
years. Now are we down to a matter of months? Is it March that you think you
Mr. Maw. I think we have to have a policy decision in concurrence with you
well before March. 19
In late November, the White House announced the nomination of
T. Vincent. Learson. former President and Chairman of IBM Corp., to
succeed Carlyle Maw, who had been an interim appointment to replace
former Ambassador and Head of the U.S. Delegation John Stevenson.
Ambassador Stevenson had resigned after the conclusion of 1975 ses-
sion of the LOS Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.
POSSIBLE TREATY IMPLICATIONS
In view of the wide divergence of positions on seabed exploitation
and heretofore general unwillingness to compromise among the par-
ticipants in the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference
several possible outcomes are likely, such as: (1) A timely, successful
(acceptable to the United States), and effective treaty will be con-
cluded; (2) no treaty will be concluded; (3) an ineffective treaty or
general statement of principles agreeable to all will be adopted; (4)
an open-ended conference with a general treaty agreeable to all, or to
a majority, will be signed with substantive issues to be negotiated
later; or (5) a treaty unacceptable to the United States will be
adopted. An outcome along the lines of the first possibility would
require major shifts in position, primarily by the developing countries.
Although hope springs eternal, there is little indication to date that
such a shift might occur. If a successful treaty were signed, it would
preempt any domestic legislation, if existing, and probably require
enabling legislation for ratification.
Since the Third U.N. Law of the Sea Conference was first proposed,
pessimists have suggested that, in all probability, no treaty will be
adopted. An ineffective treaty or broad statement with few specifics
and generally agreeable to all, would be a face-saving conclusion for
the participants, but would also be an unsuccessful result. Even
18 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs. Subcommittee on
Minerals. Materials and Fuels. Status Report on Law of the Sea Conference. Hearing,
Part 4. Washington. October 29. 1975, p. 14.">1.
10 Ibid., p. 1454.
Malta's ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Arvid Pardo, the man
reportedly most responsible for initiating the Law of the Sea Con-
ference by declaring the sea's resources beyond the limits of national
jurisdiction the "common heritage of mankind," expressed disappoint-
ment with the way things were turning out. "I suppose it would be
better if there were no conference and no treaty at all." 20
An open-ended conference resulting in only a general treaty, leaving
substantive issues to be decided later, would indefinitely postpone com-
mercial seabed mining and, consequently, not be acceptable to mining
interests who now have substantial investments in deep seabed mining
technology. In such a case domestic legislation could provide a frame-
work for regulating domestic mining interests during the interim
period until a substantive international agreement can, if possible, be
concluded. In the absence of domestic legislation, U.S. nationals could
still proceed to commercial seabed mining at their own risks.
If a convention on deep seabed exploitation that is unacceptable to
the United States were adopted, it might not be acceptable also to other
technologically advanced countries whose corporations or governments
have already invested large sums in deep seabed mining. Countries
with such investments include the United States, Japan. Great Britain,
France, West Germany, Australia, Canada, and the Soviet Union. Con-
sequently, an international monopoly for seabed mining would have to
develop or purchase its own expertise and technology for mining (by
some means of financing at a level equal to approximately half the
total budget of the United Nations) or else provide an attractive
investment incentive or contract arrangement with countries or private
entities that already have this capability.
The acceptance of a treaty agreement may also be influenced by con-
ditions that may be treated as part of a package deal. Not only may
trade-offs occur among different ocean uses, but trade-offs may be
acceptable within a particular issue. For example, with regard to sea-
bed mining, a restrictive treaty may be written favoring the condi-
tions imposed primarily by one group while allowing existing seabed
mining to continue (or, conversely, a treaty written differently and
generally less restrictive, in conjunction with a temporary moratorium
on deep ocean mining) .
According to several observers, the chances are best that if a treaty
is produced by the Law of the Sea Conference, it will come in 1976 or
early 1977. If the Conference is not successful by then, it will prob-
ably drag on for several years or possibly the attempt will be
Unless it became accepted law, an international convention is not
binding except on the signatory countries. The strength of the conven-
tion lies in the extent of its acceptance among the countries most
affected by it. For example, the 1973 Inter-governmental Maritime
Consultative Organization (IMCO) Convention on Marine Pollution
from Ships required ratification by 15 countries whose combined
merchant fleets constituted not less than 50 percent of the gross tonnage
of the world's merchant shipping before it enters into force. A conven-
tion on seabed mining would not be effective for controlling seabed
exploitation unless it were ratified by most of the aforementioned coun-
20 Alexander, op. cit., p. 210.
tries with seabed mining interests. Judging from past experiences, if
more than one or two of these countries did not sign the convention, it
would carry less weight than desired despite the total number of signa-
tories. The countries who do not become party to the convention would
be free to mine the seabed subject to the public censure of the other
nations. A case in point is Russia and Japan who did not sign the
International Whaling Convention and continued to catch whales
beyond their allotted quotas.
If the United States were not a signatory to a convention regulating
the exploitation of the seabed, the only controls on U.S. mining inter-
ests would come from whatever legislation Congress might choose to
enact. This legislation would not legally affect the right of U.S. na-
tionals to mine the seabed but would regulate and control their opera-
tions. Such legislation has been introduced in the last three Congresses
by Senator Lee Metcalf and others. These bills were initially supported
by the mining interests as a means of investment security. While the
bills would still supply that guarantee, if enacted, the mining interests
no longer feel the need for them as strongly as before. This change has
come about largely through the formation of international consortia
for deep seabed mining.
U.S. companies are already on record stating they intend to mine
the seabed despite the outcome of the Law of the Sea Conference.
John E. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., speaking at a
National Advisory Committee on Ocean and Atmosphere (NACOA)
meeting stated that Law of the Sea Conference results would not affect
his firm's plans for reaching full scale production between 1978 and
The Group of 77 has made it clear that it will hold the United States
responsible for the actions of its nationals. Under present law, the
United States has no legal means of stopping private corporations
from seabed mining beyond national jurisdiction. If such legislation
were enacted, U.S. mining interests could even attempt to register
their ships in other countries or operate through foreign partners in
consortia arrangements. In addition, the U.S. State Department has
refused to recognize the mining claim filed by Deepsea Ventures,
Inc. for an area beyond national jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, but
did support their right to mine (at their own risk) in international
21 Washington Report, National Ocean Industries Association, Nov. 29, 1974, p. 4.
Letter from Charles N. Brower of the State Department to
Senator Henry M. Jackson
Department of State,
Washington, B.C., March 1, 1973.
Hon. Henry M. Jackson,
Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, Washington,
Dear Mr, Chairman : In a letter to you on May 19, 1972, the Chairman of the
Inter-Agency Law of the Sea Task Force indicated that the Executive Branch
was not prepared at that time to state a position on S. 2801, the "Deep Seabed
Hard Mineral Resources Act". A hill identical to S. 2801 has been reintroduced in
this session of the Congress at H.R. 9. In his May 19th letter, the Chairman of
the Task Force noted the connection of the bill with the Law of the Sea prepara-
tory negotiations in the United Nations Seabed Committee, and said that we
would report again on our views in the light of developments at the summer ses-
sion of the Seabed Committee and the 27th United Nations General Assembly.
This letter provides Executive Branch views on H.R. 9 supplemented by an ap-
pendix on the bill's mineral resource and technical aspects and their relationship
to the negotiations.
By far the most important development at the 27th General Assembly regard-
ing the Law of the Sea was the unanimous adoption of a Law of the Sea Con-
ference Resolution. This resolution establishes a precise schedule for the Law of
the Sea Conference and preparatory negotiations. Preparatory work in the UN
Seabed Committee will be intensified in 1973, with provision for a five week ses-
sion beginning in early March in New York and an eight week session beginning
in early July in Geneva. The Resolution provides for convening a brief organiza-
tional session of the Law of the Sea Conference in New York in November/
December 1973, and for convening a second session of the Conference, for the
purpose of dealing with substantive matters, in Santiago, Chile in April/May
1974. There is also provision for such subsequent sessions of the Conference if
necessary, as may be decided by the Conference with the approval of the General
Assembly, at a subsequent session or subsequent sessions no later than 1975.
The Resolution also provides for the General Assembly to review at its 28th
session next fall the progress of preparatory work and, if necessary, to take
measures to facilitate completion of the substantive work for the Conference
and any other action it may deem appropriate. As a strictly legal matter, such a
clause is unnecessary since the General Assembly has his authority in any event.
Its inclusion made it easier to accommodate concerns about proceeding to a Con-
ference in the absence of adequate preparation. Moreover, we and others have
made it clear that we will wish to seek an adjustment in the schedule in order
to ensure that there are more than eight weeks of work in 1974.
The present hope of a large majority of States is that the kind of schedule out-
lined in the Conference Resolution can be met. This conclusion is necessarily
based upon the expectation of important accomplishments in the preparatory
work of the Seabed Committee in 1973.
As significant as the content of the Conference Resolution was the fact that
it was adopted unanimously. All groups involved in its negotiation expressed
great sensitivity to the concerns of other States, and great efforts were devoted to
arriving at a resolution which could command nat merely a majority or a %
majority, but general support. This augurs well for the future of Law of the Sea
negotiations, since a successful Law of the Sea Conference will necessarily re-
quire a similar attitude of mutual respect and accommodation.
Although not directly relevant to the legislation before us, there were other
developments in the General Assembly this year that were less auspicious but
which, nevertheless, merit reporting. A deep division of opinion developed re-
garding a request by certain Land-locked and shelf-locked states for a study of the
implications for the international seabed area of various proposed limits of
national jurisdiction. It had been our bope that this issue could be resolved by
negotiation and accommodation, but unfortunately, such an accommodation did
not in fact occur until after a number of close votes and intense debate. The ulti-
mate result was the adoption of a revision of the land-locked/shelf -locked study
resolution, as well as a companion resolution introduced by Peru calling for an
analysis of the effect of different limits on coastal States. The U.S. has consistently
supported reasonable requests for studies and information on Law of the Sea
subjects, and in accordance with this policy we supported both the land-locked/
shelf-locked proposal and the Peruvian proposal.
One other significant development at this General Assembly, fortunately in
keeping with the spirit that dominated the negotiation of the Conference Reso-
lution, was the fact that no new resolution calling for a moratorium on deep
seabed activities was introduced. While it. would not be accurate to interpret
this as an indication that States supporting the earlier moratorium resolution
have changed their opinion, we believe that the avoidance of a renewed and
divisive debate on this subject was related to the general attempts to ensure
the best possible atmosphere as we enter the final stage of preparatory work
this year. Needless to say, our own opposition to the moratorium remains
Turning to H.R. 9, the considerations expressed in our letter of May 19, 1972
on S. 2801 (identical to H.R. 13904) remain applicable, and generally set forth
the factors affecting our approach to H.R. 9. In the time that has elapsed,
however, we have been able to give further consideration to the matter in the
light of international and domestic developments. We are accordingly in a
position now to state a more definitive view on H.R. 9 and interim mining
First, we adhere to the policy on this subject contained in the President's
Oceans Policy Statement of May 23, 1970. We continue to believe that it is
necessary to achieve timely widespread international agreement on outstanding
Law of the Sea issues in order to save over two-thirds of the earth's surface
from national conflict and rivalry, protect it from pollution, and put it to use
for the benefit of all. It remains vital to all our national interests involved in
the Law of the Sea Conference that the world agree on a treaty that will properly
accommodate the many and varied uses of ocean space including the seabeds.
At the same time we believe that it is neither necessary nor desirable to try
to halt exploration and exploitation of the seabeds beyond a depth of 200 meters
during the negotiation process, provided that such activities are subject to the
international regime to be agreed upon, which should include due protection of
the integrity of investments made in the interim period.
Second, we believe that there is reason to expect that the schedule for the
Law of the Sea Conference outlined in the Conference Resolution just passed
by the General Assembly will be adhered to. As previously indicated, the pre-
amble of the Conference Resolution expressly states the expectation that the
Conference will complete its work in 1974 or at the very latest in 1975.
Third, we believe that with the Law of the Sea negotiations moving into a
critical stage, it is necessary for States to be very careful to avoid actions that
can have an adverse effect on the negotiating atmosphere. It is apparent that
S. 2801 (now H.R. 9), independent of the particular content or merits of the
Bill, has become a symbol to many countries of defiance of the multilateral
negotiating process. Regardless of our views on the intent and effect of the
legislation, it may be argued by others that the legislation is similar to unilateral
claims that we oppose and that are contrary to our security, navigation and
resource interests, and moreover preempts the Law of the Sea Conference on
this issue. It is well known that we have urged legislative restraint on other
countries during the multilateral negotiating process even when they felt im-
portant interests were involved : we believe we should do the same so long as
there are reasonable prospects for a timely and successful conference.
Fourth, we wish to insure that technology to mine the seabeds will be developed
and that the United States will be able to look to seabed mineral resources as
a new source of metals which would otherwise have to be imported with an
attendant impact on our balance of payments and other interests.
Fifth, we also believe that a secure and stable investment climate must
surround seabed mining activity under any new legal regime.
Sixth, we want to assure that all seabed mineral resource development will be
compatible with sound environmental practices.
Tbe adoption of the Conference Resolution indicates that Ave should distin-
guish between two different time periods. Tbe first is the period between the
present time and the conclusion of the Conference in 1974 or at the latest 1975.
The second is the period between the end of the Conference and the entry into
force of a treaty.
With respect to the second time period, we believe it may be desirable for the
Law of the Sea Conference to provide at its conclusion for immediate provisional
entry into force of some aspects of the international seabed regime. There is an
excellent precedent for this in the Chicago Civil Aviation Convention of 1944,
which is one of the most widely ratified treaties in the world. This approach can
accommodate the fears of many states that the establishment of an interim
regime might still not lead to the establishment of a permanent regime, since in
fact what we would be doing would be to bring certain parts of the permanent
regime and machinery into operation earlier on a provisional basis. It is our
intention to make clear in the international negotiations the advantages of, and
the need for, the entry into force of a viable provisional international regulatory
system for the deep seabeds as part of the general Law of the Sea treaty settle-
ment in a way that ensures that the provisional system will be part of, and not a
substitute for, the permanent system.
We will spare no efforts to ensure that a successful Law of the Sea Conference
can be concluded on schedule. However, this does not mean that we intend to
focus our efforts exclusively on the Law of the Sea negotiations.
Prudence dictates that we also begin at once to formulate a legislative approach
on a contingency basis for two reasons. First, it could conceivably become clear
during the negotiations that we have no reasonable basis for expecting a timely
and successful Law of the Sea Conference. Second, we can prepare for provisional
entry into force of some aspects of the international seabed regime once it is
signed. While the approach in H.R. 9 does not appear to us to be satisfactory,
we intend to continue the useful discussions we have been having with industry
representatives and members of the public on this issue with a view to formu-
lating such an approach within the Administration.
Similarly, we have had interesting discussions of this problem with other
nations. In this connection, it must be borne in mind that economic as well as
political factors make it necessary that we understand and take into account the
interests and views of other countries on this subject. United States companies
will not be alone on the deep seabeds, nor will the United States be the only
country affected by their activities. Thus, we also intend to continue our consul-
tations with other interested States on this subject, and in particular with those
States whose nationals may in the foreseeable future be in competition with our
In this process, we will try to be guided by the need to avoid taking any defini-
tive steps which would make the U.N. negotiations more difficult for ourselves
or other nations, as well as the need to provide the essential elements of the
financial security which industry considers necessary.
Let me be quite clear about the timing of this course of action. First, Ave will
commence work on alternative approaches immediately, and will concentrate on
the period between signature and entry into force of the treaty ; second, we will
want to make a continuing assessment of the negotiations to determine if a
timely and successful Conference will occur; and third, we will not ask Congress
to pass alternative legislation for the period before the conclusion of the Confer-
ence if a timely and successful Conference is predictable.
Let me also be clear as to what we mean by a '"timely and successful" Con-
ference. We would not regard a Conference as timely unless the schedule referred
to in the preamble of the Conference Resolution is adhered to: in other words, a
Convention, including arrangements regarding the provisional application of the
international seabeds regime, would be opened for signature in 1974 or. at the
Latest, in 1975. In practical terms, this means not later than the summer of 1975.
since many delegates would have to be present when the I'.X. General Assembly
convenes in September.
Similarly, we could no longer regard the likely outcome of a Conference as
successful should it become apparent that other States are not prepared to ac-
commodate basic United States interests in a final Law of the Sea settlement. In
our statement of August 10. 1972. before the I'.X. Seabed Committee, we re-
iterated what those interests are. Three paragraphs from that statement follow:
"The views of my delegation on non-resource uses have been clearly stated on
a number of occasions. It is our candid assessment that there is no possibility
for agreement on a breadth of the territorial sea other than 12 nautical miles. The
United States and others have also made it clear that their vital Interests
require that agreement on a 12-mile territorial sea he coupled with agreement
on free transit of straits used for international navigation and these remain
basic elements of our national policy which we will not sacrifice. We have, how-
ever, made clear that we are prepared to accommodate coastal State concerns
regarding pollution and navigational safety in straits and have made proposals
to that effect in Subcommittee II."
"The views of my delegation on resource issues have also been stated on a
number of occasions. Unfortunately, some delegations appear to have the impres-
sion that maritime countries in general, and the United States in particular,
can be expected to sacrifice in these negotiations basic elements of their national
policy on resources. This is not true. The reality is that every nation represented
here has basic interests in both resource and non-resource uses that require
"Accordingly, we believe it is important to dispel any possible misconceptions
that my government would agree to a monopoly by an international operating
agency over deep seabed exploitation or to any type of economic zone that does
not accommodate basic United States interests with respect to resources as well
In another excerpt regarding the deep seabeds we stated : "An effective and
equitable regime must protect not only the interests of the developing countries
but also those of the developed countries by establishing reasonable and secure
investment conditions for their nationals who will invest their capital and
technology in the deep seabeds. In order to provide the necessary protections for
all nations with important interests in the area, it is also necessary to establish
a system of decision making which takes this into account and provides for
compulsory settlement of disputes. We do not regard these objectives as incon-
sistent with the desire of other countries for equitable participation in deep
seabed exploitation and its benefits."
For some time our experts have been engaged in a study of the economic im-
plications of deep seabed mining legislation such as last session's S. 2801 and
the current session's H.R. 9. They are examining issues of resource management
and development, as well as questions of political economy such as the design
of arrangements to ensure efficient exploitation of ocean resources. Implications
for tax, customs and development finance policies are also under review.
The technology of ocean bed mining is likely to develop rapidly, and^new in-
formation continually challenges old hypotheses. It is therefore impossible to
be definitive. Nevertheless, at this time we are prepared to give you a compre-
hensive but as yet still incomplete report of the Administration's views on cer-
tain technical aspects of H.R. 9, particularly those related to resource manage-
ment and development.
In reporting to you that the Administration is opposed to the enactment of
H.R. 9, we want to make clear that this does not mean we are unalterably op-
posed to legislation of any sort, or that we intend to disregard the problem of
interim mining. Any of a number of events could occur that would lead us to
conclude that legislation was necessary, and we intend to prepare as quickly
as possible for that contingency. Moreover, we wish to repeat that we continue
to adhere to the President's statement that it is neither necessary nor desirable
to try to halt exploration and exploitation of the seabeds beyond a depth of 200
meters during the negotiating process, provided that such activities are subject
to the international regime to be agreed upon, which should include due protec-
tion of the integrity of investment made in the interim period. Our opposition
to H.R. 9 in no way alters this.
We are deeply conscious of the fact that no decision we could have reached
on this issue at this time could have been universally popular. Some who support
the moratorium may not aeree with the policy we have set forth. Some who
support the approach in H.R. 9 may be equally disappointed. For the present,
we think the middle course we have outlined is best. We hope the Committee
will agree. However, we fully understand that the Committee, like the Adminis-
tration, may wish to pay close and continuing: attention to developments that
could alter this assessment. We pledge our full cooperation with the Committee
in those efforts.
The Office of Management and Budget advises that from the standpoint of the
Administration's program there is no objection to the submission of this report.
Charles N. Broweb,
Acting Legal Adviser and Acting Chairman, Inter-agency Task Force on
the Law of the Sea.
Letter from Representative Thomas X. Downing and Senator Lee
Metcalf to Secretary of Commerce Frederick B. Dent
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,
Washington, D.C., June 3, 1974.
Hon. Frederick B. Dent,
Secretary of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce,
Dear Mr. Secretary : On several occasions, the Congress has had the benefit
of testimony from Administration witnesses, including those representing your
department, as to this nation's commitment to the development of deep ocean
Among others, Professor John Norton Moore of the Department of State, has
advised us as to Administration policy on the issues which will be before the
Law of the Sea Conference in Caracas, and of Administration efforts to provide
for provisional application of certain aspects of the anticipated Convention. He
has further assured us that, in the absence of a "timely" resolution by the Con-
ference of the issues before it, the Administration is prepared to support domestic
legislation to provide alternative solutions.
The Administration concept of a timely resolution of issues apparently is that
described by Ambassador John R. Stevenson, Special Representative of the
President for the Law of the Sea Conference, in his letter to the "Wall Street
Journal", published January 7, 1974, and which Senator Metcalf read into the
"Congressional Record" of January 21, copy attached.
We say "apparently," because in his March 1, 1973 letter to Chairman Jackson
of the Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, as well as in his
testimony before the House Subcommittee on Oceanography on the same date,
Mr. Charles N. Brower, then Acting Legal Adviser to the Department of State
and Acting Chairman, Interagency Task Force on the Law of the Sea, said
that "prudence dictates that we also begin at once to formulate a legislative
approach on a contingency basis . . .". Fifteen months later, we are still awaiting
information on that legislative approach.
According to Professor Moore, one responsibility of the Administration in
this area is the preparation of an environmental impact statement on the effects
of deep ocean mining, such a statement to include the results of at-sea work to
be carried out by "our" experts, and to be completed in time to serve as a part
of the governmental decision-making process before the end of 1975. If that
responsibility is to be carried out, we are now at the point, if indeed not past
it, when we must make a vigorous, concentrated effort to acquire the necessary
information and data upon which valid judgments may be based.
In view of the situation, we would appreciate your advising us at as early
a date as is possible of the past efforts and present plans of the Executive
Branch, and particularly of your own department, on the development of an
ocean mining environmental statement, with emphasis on how the Executive
Branch, is taking advantage of ongoing and future at-sea operations by American
We would like to know whether your attention to this problem area has been
merely a token one or whether there has been any serious consideration and any
development of actual plans to solve your problem, in other words, whether
your efforts have really "made it to sea."
We would also appreciate being advised how thp functional responsibilities of
NOAA have been adapted to the program, how NOAA capabilities have con-
tributed thereto, whether the recent discontinuation of the Marine Mining
Technologv Center at Tiburon indicates a lack of concern for the problem area,
whether there have been any results to date, and whether the decree of effort is
consistent with the "in any event by 1975 at the latest" deadline.
The only renort we have thus far seen is the "Environmental Impact of Deep
Sea Mining, Proerress Report," by Dr. Oswald A. Rods of May 1973. That report,
a summary of which was included in the 1973 "Mineral Resources of the Deep
65-675 O - 76 - 9
Seabed" hearings by the Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials, and Fuels of the
Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, consisted primarily of a
literature review of the properties of the sea floor and watei column in certain
areas of the ocean. It did, however, also include what was called a technical
plan, devised to furnish the information necessary for a final environmental
impact statement. While that suggested plan might be criticized as being too long
drawn out, it did at least represent a concrete suggestion for handling the prob-
lem. As to that plan, and your consideration thereof, we would appreciate
answers to the following specific questions :
(1) Was there a consideration of the plan by NOAA, by your department,
or by any other Executive agencies ? If so, was the suggested plan approved,
disapproved, or approved in part?
(2) Assuming that some plan has been adopted for implementation since
May 1973, what are the constituent elements of the approved plan, what is
the time frame for accomplishment of the various segments, and when will
the final result be available?
(3) Again assuming some approved plan has been adopted, what agencies
or departments are involved in its implementation, what levels of funding
for the implementation have been recommended by whom, and what levels
of funding have been approved by NOAA, by you, and by the Office of
Management and Budget?
(4) If other departments and agencies are also involved in the imple-
mentation of the plan, please advise us of the same type of information on
their funding levels or indicate to us where we might obtain that
We will appreciate your response to this letter at your earliest convenience.
The letter and your response will be made a part of the record in future con-
sideration of this problem.
Very truly yours,
Thomas N. Downing,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Oceanography, House Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries.
Chairman, Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials, and Fuels, Senate Com-
mittee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
Letter from Secretary Frederick B. Dent to
Senator Lee Metcalf
The Secretary of Commerce,
Washington, D.C., July 12, 191 1,.
Hon. Lee Metcalf,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Minerals, Materials, and Fuels, Committee on In-
terior and Insular Affairs, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
Dear Mr. Chairman : Thank you for your letter of June 3, 1974, concerning
efforts being undertaken by the Administration, particularly the Department of
Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
related to the formulation of an environmental impact statement for deep ocean
mining. I can assure you that the Department of Commerce and the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are active in planning for obtaining
the knowledge necessary to formulate a satisfactory environmental impact state-
ment and recognize its importance to our ocean mining industry.
We have developed over the past several years a close working relationship
with the ocean mining industry through the Mining Pane' of the Ocean Science
and Technology Advisory Committee (OSTAC) of the National Security Indus-
trial Association (NSIA). This panel originally emphasized the importance of
environmental studies for NOAA programs in support of the mining industry
in recommendations to the Administrator of NOAA in June 1972. A NOAA pro-
gram for environmental studies of sand and gravel operations on the Continental
Shelf which had just been initiated to address the national need for construction
aggregate was endorsed at that time. In addition the Panel urged that NOAA
considered the environmental aspects of deep ocean mining. Subsequently, we
have been involved in several related endeavors.
In consultation with the OSTAC Mining Panel, we have developed a program
for deep ocean mining environmental related studies. Dr. Oswald A. Roels of the
City University of New York has been carrying out scientific investigations in
the Pacific under NOAA auspices. These investigations within the potential areas
of deep ocean mining for manganese nodules are in addition to the report cited
in your letter. In the draft environmental impact statement which has served to
meet the requirements under the National Environmental Protection Act for the
U.S. participation in the Law of the Sea Conference being held in Caracas,
Venezuela, this summer, NOAA contributed the descriptions of natural condi-
tions and the potential environmental impacts.
On the basis of our efforts through Dr. Roels and the development of the draft
environmental impact statement for the Law of the Sea conference, NOAA has
formulated in consultation with the ocean mining industry, a Deep Ocean Mining
Environmental Study (DOMES) to assess the environmental factors associated
with the deep ocean manganese nodule mining. A Project Development Plan pre-
pared for this study in April 1974 outlines a three-year project to identify poten-
tial environmental problems sufficiently early to enable timely response to the
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act as well as to permit
the development of environmental guidelines for industrial use in the design of
mining equipment and operational techniques.
The project consists of two phases. Phase I is to be an effort to acquire data
concerning the character of the environment in a typical mining area of the North
Pacific Ocean prior to disturbance by mining devices. Phase II is to be an effort to
test and refine predictive models developed in Phase I during a series of pro-
totype mining equipment tests. While the Marine Mining Technology Center at
Tiburon, California, has been closed, the environmental aspects of ocean mining
at the Center have been integrated with the oceanography programs of the for-
mer Pacific Oceanographic Laboratories at Seattle, Washington, to form the
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. This combination of capability, lo-
cated close to a major NOAA fisheries center in Seattle, provides the scientific
basis needed to carry out the required environmental studies outlined in both
phases of the Project Development Plan.
The Project Development Plan is now under review within the Department of
Commerce, and resources have not yet been requested from the Office of Man-
agement and Budget. The Plan outlines a three-year program of $2.9 million
$2.6 million and $2.3 million for each consecutive year. While other departments
and agencies are not involved specifically in the implementation of the Plan, we
intend to draw upon available data derived from other agencies in the develop-
ment of our operational plans. We also have received endorsement for the Proj-
ect Development Plan from the Council on Environmental Quality and the En-
vironmental Protection Agency.
We appreciate your interest in this program and will advise you as to the out-
come of our review of the Project Development for a deep ocean environmental
Fbedeeick B. Dent,
Secretary of Commerce.
Text of S. 713
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Metcalf (for himself, Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Fannin, Mr. Hansen, Mr.
Jackson, Mr. Johnston, and Mr. Moss) introduced the following bill ;
which was read twice and, by unanimous consent, referred to the Com-
mittee on Interior and Insular Affairs if and when reported to be jointly
referred to the Committees on Armed Services, Commerce, and Foreign
Relations for thirty days
To provide the Secretary of the Interior with -authority to pro-
mote the conservation and orderly development of the hard
mineral resources of the deep seabed, pending adoption of an
international regime therefor.
1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa-
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
3 That this Act may be cited as the "Deep Seabed Hard Min-
4 erals Act".
5 DECLAEATION OF POLICY
6 Seo. 2. (a) Findings. — The Congress finds —
7 (1) that the Nation's hard mineral resource require-
8 ments will continue to expand in order to supply national
1 industrial needs and that the demand for certain hard
2 minerals will increasingly exceed available domestic
3 sources of supply ;
4 (2) that, in the case of some minerals, the Nation
5 is totally dependent upon foreign sources of supply and
6 that the acquisition of mineral resources from foreign
7 sources is a substantial factor in the national balance-of-
8 payments position;
9 (3) that the national security interests of the United
10 States require the availability of mineral resources which
11 are independent of the export policies of foreign nations ;
12 (4) that there is an alternate source of supply of
13 certain minerals which are significant in relation to
14 national needs contained in the manganese nodules which
15 exist in great abundance on the ocean floor;
16 (5) that, to the extent that such nodules are located
17 outside the territorial limits and beyond the Continental
18 Shelf of any nation, the nodules are available for utiliza-
19 tion by any nation with the ability to develop them;
20 (6) that United States mining companies have
21 developed the technology necessary for the development
22 and processing of deep seabed nodules and, given the
23 necessary security of tenure, are prepared to make the
24 necessary capital investment for such development and
25 processing; and
1 (7) that it is in the national interest of the United
2 States to utilize existing technology and capabilities of
3 United States mining companies by providing for interim
4 legislation which will encourage further efforts to insure
5 national access to available deep seabed hard minerals
G and to provide the means whereby the national program
7 may be merged into an international program which
8 evolves from negotiations on the Law of the Sea and is
9 subsequently ratified by the United States.
10 (b) PuRroSES— The Congress declares that the pur-
11 poses of this Act are —
12 (1) to establish a national program to promote
13 the orderly development of certain hard mineral re-
11 sources of the deep seabed, pending the establishment
15 of an international regime for that purpose ; and
16 (2) to insure the establishment of all practicable
17 requirements necessary to protect the quality of the
18 marine environment to the extent that that environment
19 may be affected by deep seabed hard mineral mining
22 Sec. B. For the purposes of this Act—
23 (a) "Secretary" means, except where its usage in-
24 dicates otherwise, the Secretary of the Interior;
25 (b) "deep seabed" means the seabed, and the subsoil
1 thereof, lying seaward and outside the Continental Shelf
2 of any nation;
3 (c) "Continental Shelf" refers to the seabed and
• 4 subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast of
5 any nation (including the coasts of islands), but outside
6 the area of the territorial sea, to a depth of two hundred
7 meters or, beyond that limit, to where the depth of the
8 superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the nat-
9 ural resources of the said areas ;
10 (d) "block" means an area of the deep seabed hav-
11 ing four boundary lines which are lines of longitude and
12 latitude, the width of which may not be less than one-
13 sixth the length, comprising not more than forty thou-
14 sand square kilometers, and extending downward from
15 the seabed to a depth of ten meters ;
16 (e) "hard mineral" or "hard mineral resources"
17 refers to nodules or accretions containing, but not limited
18 to, iron, manganese, nickel, cobalt, and copper;
19 (f) "development" means any operation of explora-
20 tion and commercial recovery, other than prospecting,
21 having the purpose of discovery, recovery, or delivery of
22 hard minerals from the deep seabed ;
23 (g) "prospecting" means any operation conducted
24 for the purpose of making geophysical or geochemical
25 measurements, bottom sampling, or comparable activities
1 so long as such operation is carried on in a manner that
2 does not significantly alter the surface or subsurface of
3 the deep seabed;
4 (h) "person" includes private individuals, assoeia-
5 tions, corporations, or other entities, and any officer, em-
G ployee, agent, department, agency, or instrumentality of
7 the Federal Government, of any State or local unit of
8 government, or of any foreign government ;
9 (i) "eligible applicant" means a citizen of the
10 United States or a corporation or other juridical entity
11 organized under the laws of the United State?, or its
12 States, territories, or possessions, and possessing such
13 technical and financial capabilities as may be prescribed
14 by the Secretary in order to assure effective and orderly
15 development of hard mineral resources pursuant to a
10' license issued under this Act :
17 (j) "investment" means a commitment of funds,
18 together with the interest costs thereof, commodities,
19 services, patents processes, and techniques, dedicated to
20 the development of a licensed block or the processing of
21 the recovered minerals;
22 (k) "exploration" means the on-site observation nnd
23 evaluation activity following the location and selection
24 by .in eligible npplieanl of a bard mineral deposit of po-
25 tential economic interest, which has, us it- objective, the'
1 establishment and documentation of the naiure, shape,
2 concentration, and tenor of an ore deposit, and the na-
3 ture of the environmental factors which will affect its
4 susceptibility of being developed, including the sampling
5 of the deposit necessary for the design, fabrication, instal-
6 lation, and testing of equipment;
7 (1) "commercial recovery" means recovery of hard
8 minerals at a substantial rate of production (without
9 regard to profit or loss) , for the primary purpose of
10 marketing or commercial use and does not include re-
11 covery for sampling, experimenting in recovery methods,
12 or testing equipment or plant for recovery or treatment
13 of hard minerals;
14 (m) "reciprocating State" means any foreign State,
15 designated by the President as a State with requirements
16 and procedures comparable to those of tne United States
17 under this Act, and which has undertaken to recognize
J.8 licenses issued under this Act; and
19 (n) "international registry clearinghouse" means a
20 recording agency or organization designated by the
21 President in cooperation with reciprocating States.
22 ACTIVITIES PBOHIB1TED
23 Sec. 4. (a) Except (1) as authorized pursuant to the
24 provisions <>l' this Act, including subsection (b) hereof, (2)
25 as authorized under a license issued by a reciprocating State,
1 or (3) as may be authorized under a treaty, convention, or
2 other international agreement, which is binding upon the
3 United States, no person subject to the jurisdiction of the
4 United States shall engage directly or indirectly in the
5 development of hard mineral resources of the deep seabed.
q The prohibition of this subsection does not apply to equip-
7 ment engineering development, prospecting, or scientific
g research, nor to the rendering of contractual engineering,
9 construction, or other services, not amounting to actual
10 exploration or Commercial recovery, nor to the furnishing
H of machinery, products, supplies, or materials to any organi-
12 zation or person lawfully engaged in such development:
13 Provided, That the development docs not infringe upon a
14 license recognized as exclusive under the provisions of
15 section 5 (b) hereof.
16 (b) In any case hi which an eligible applicant is already
17 engaged in the exploration of a block, on the date on which
18 this Act takes effect, that eligible applicant may establish his
19 priority of right by filing an application for a license to de-
20 velop that block, without awaiting the issuance of applicable
2i regulation> under section 18. Thereafter, he may continue
22 any exploration activities until such time as the Secretary
23 acts upon the application, with any activity subsequent to
24 the action ol the Secretary to be determined by the decision
25 of the Secretary under the provisions (, t section 5 hereof.
1 LICENSE TO DEVELOP
2 Sec. 5. (a) Genekal— Pursuant to the provisions of
3 this Act, the Secretary shall accept applications from, and
4 issue licenses to, eligible applicants for the development of
5 hard mineral resources of the deep seabed. Any license issued
6 pursuant to this section shall be issued to the first eligible
7 applicant who makes written application therefor, and ten-
8 ders a fee of $50,000 for the block specified in the application
9 and available for licensing. Such fee shall be deposited into
10 an appropriate fund to be established in the Department of
11 the Treasury, which fund shall be utilized for administrative
12 and other costs incurred in the processing of applications for
13 licenses under this Act. The fund shall be available for such
14 purposes only as appropriated to the Secretary annually
15 therefor. Before he may issue a license, the Secretary must
16 first determine, in the consideration of each license ap-
17 plication —
18 ( 1 ) that the applicant is financially responsible and
19 has demonstrated the ability to comply with applicable
20 laws, regulations, and license conditions;
21 (2) that the operations under the license will not
22 unreasonably interfere with other reasonable uses of the
23 high seas, as defined by any treaty or convention to
24 which the United States is signatory, or by customary
25 international law;
1 (3) that the issuance of a license does not conflict
2 with any obligations of the United States, established by
3 treaty or other international agreement; and
4 (4) that operations under the license will not pose
5 an unreasonable threat to the integrity of the marine
6 environment and that all reasonable precautions will be
7 taken to minimize any adverse impact on that environ-
9 (b) Nature and Duration of License.— (1) Sub-
10 ject to the provisions of section 12 hereof, any license issued
11 pursuant to this Act shall be exclusive as against all persons
12 subject to the jurisdiction of the United States or of any
13 reciprocating State, and shall authorize development of the
14 hard mineral resources of the deep seabed for specified blocks
15 thereof: Provided, That in no event shall an} 7 license issued
16 under this Act authorize the commercial recovery of such
17 resources prior to January 1, 1976: And provided further,
18 That, except to the extent that such licenses are authorized
19 pursuant to the provisions of an international agreement es-
20 tablishing a regime for the development of mineral resources
21 of the international seabed area beyond the limits of coastal
22 State territorial or resource jurisdiction, no licenses shall be
23 issued under this Act subsequent to the ratification by the
24 United States of any such international agreement.
65-675 O - 76 - 10
1 (2) Priority of right for the issuance of a license shall
2 be created and maintained by receipt by the Secretary of a
3 license application from an eligible applicant : Provided, That
the application is submitted in conformity with the provisions
k of this Act and the regulations promulgated by the Secretary
6 pursuant to section 18 hereof.
n (3) An application, submitted in accordance with sub-
o section (b) of section 4 hereof and prior to the effective date
a of the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 18 of
10 this Act, shall be entitled to priority of right as established in
11 paragraph (2) of this subsection: Provided, That the eligible
io applicant complies with the provisions of this Act, including,
1 3 fcut not limited to, the tender of the fee required by section 5,
14 the furnishing of information required by subsection (b) of
15 section 6, and the minimum expenditures required by sec-
16 tion 8 : Provided further, That the eligible applicant brings
17 his application and his other activities into compliance wifch
18 all applicable regulations issued by the Secretary, as soon as
19 such regulations become effective.
20 (4) Every license issued under this Act shall remain in
2i force for fifteen years and, where commercial recovery of
22 the hard mineral resources has begun from a licensed block
23 within the fifteen-year period, such license shall remain in
24 force for as long as commercial recovery from the block
1 (e) Transfer or Surrender of License.— Any
2 license issued under this Act may be surrendered at will or,
3 upon written request of the licensee, may be transferred by
4 the Secretary to any other eligible applicant. Such license, as
5 issued or as transferred, may be revoked for willful, sub-
6 stantial failure to comply with the provisions of this Act,
7 with any regulation promulgated thereunder, or with any
8 license restriction or license condition: Provided, That the
9 Secretary has first given the licensee written notice of such
10 violation and the licensee has failed to remedy the violation
11 within a reasonable period of time. Upon such failure, the
12 Secretary shall notify the licensee in writing that he pro-
13 poses to revoke such license and that the licensee has thirty
14 days in which to request a hearing in accordance with section
15 554 of title 5, United States Code, on the issues raised by the
16 proposed revocation. The Secretary shall issue his decision
IT regarding revocation within thirty days after the notice of
18 proposed revocation, or after the completion of the hearings,
19 if such hearings are requested by the licensee in accordance
20 with this subsection. Any decision issued by the Secretary
21 after hearings shall be subject to judicial review in accordance
22 with the provisions of sections 701 through 70fi of title 5,
23 United States Code.
24 (d) License Conditions.— The Secretary is author-
25 ized to include in anv license issued, or transferred, under
1 this Act, any reasonable conditions which he finds neces-
2 sary to carry out the purposes of this Act. Such conditions
3 shall be prescribed on the basis of rules and regulations pro-
4 mulgated pursuant to section 18 of this Act.
5 LICENSING PEOCEDTJEES
6 Sec. 6. (a) Geneeal. — The Secretary is authorized to
7 establish procedures governing the application for, and the
8 issuance of, licenses pursuant to this Act. Such procedures
9 shall contain an adequate mechanism for full consultation
10 with all other interested Federal agencies and departments,
11 and for the full consideration of the views of any interested
12 members of the general public.
13 (b) License Application.— Each application shall
14 contain such financial, technical, and other information as
15 is specified under rules and regulations promulgated pursuant
16 to section 18 of this Act.
17 (c) Public Access to Information.— (1) Copies
18 of any communications, documents, reports, or information
19 received from any applicant shall be made available to the
20 public upon identifiable request, and at reasonable cost, unless
21 such information may not be publicly released under the
22 provisions of this subsection.
23 (2) The Secretary shall not disclose information ob-
24 taincd by him under this section which concerns or relates
1 to trade secrets or other confidential matter referred to in
2 section 1905 of title 18, United States Code.
3 (3) Nothing contained in this subsection shall be con-
4 strued to require the release to the public of any information
5 described by subsection (b) of section 552 of title 5, United
6 States Code, or which is otherwise protected by law from
7 such release.
8 (4) Prior to the issuance of the license, the following
9 specific information required to be furnished to the Secretary
10 under this Act and which is not otherwise protected from dis-
11 closure under paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection
12 may not be released outside the Government and may be
13 disclosed within the Government only on a strictly need-to-
15 (i) coordinates of licensed blocks;
16 (ii) any other data which discloses directly or
17 indirectly the coordinates of licensed blocks ; and
18 (iii) geological data related to the licensed block.
19 (d) Notice, Decision and Review.— (l) Within
20 thirty days after receipt of an application, and prior to
2 J granting a license, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal
22 Register a notice containing a summary of the application
23 and information as to where the application and the avail-
24 able supporting data may be examined allowing interested
65-675 O - 76 - 11
1 persons at least sixty days for the submission of written data,
2 views, or arguments to the granting of the license. The
3 Secretary shall utilize such additional methods as he deems
4 reasonable to inform interested persons and groups about
5 the application and to invite their comments thereon.
6 (2) The Secretary's decision granting or denying a
7 license shall be in writing and shall be made within sixty
8 days following receipt of all views. The Secretary shall
9 grant the license applied for when he finds that the applica-
10 tion, as submitted, or as modified, meets the requirements
11 of this Act and the rules and regulations promulgated
13 (3) Judicial review of the Secretary's decision shall be
14 in accordance with sections 701 through 706 of title 5,
15 United States Code.
16 (4) The Secretary shall maintain a registry in which
17 is recorded the filing or withdrawal of an application for a
18 license under this Act, the issuance, denial, expiration, sur-
19 render, transfer, or revocation of such license, or the relin-
20 quishment of any licensed portion of the deep seabed. Subject
21 to the limitations of subsection (c) hereof, registry records
22 shall be available for public inspection during the business
23 hours of every working day.
24 (5) The Secretary shall, and the applicant or licensee
25 may, notify the international registry clearinghouse within
1 fourteen days of the filing or withdrawal of an application
2 for a license under this Act, the issuance, denial, transfer,
3 expiration, surrender, or revocation of such license, or the
4 relinquishment of any licensed portion of the deep seabed.
5 (6) The function of the international registry clearing-
6 house shall consist solely of keeping records of notices, or
7 applications for licenses, issuances, denials, transfers,, or
8 terminations of licenses, and the relinquishment of licensed
9 portions of the deep seabed. Pending designation of such
10 clearinghouse, notice to the Secretary shall constitute notice
11 to the clearinghouse within the meaning of this Act.
12 ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA
13 Sec. 7. The Secretary shall consult with appropriate
14 Federal agencies and departments regarding environmental
15 criteria and shall establish objective environmental stand-
16 ards, based on technical and scientific data, applied in a
17 consistent manner under the rules and regulations of section
18 18, to which operations under a license issued under this Act
19 shall adhere. The Secretary may, from time to time, propose
20 revisions of the rules and regulations regarding environ-
21 mental standards, as scientific data may warrant.
22 MINIMUM ANNUAL EXPENDITURES
23 Sec. 8. (a) Expenditures.— In connection with the
24 development of hard mineral resources from each licensed
25 block, the licensee shall make or cause to be made minimum
1 expenditures in the following amounts per block until com-
2 mercial recovery from such block is first initiated :
Year : Amount per year
1 r $100,000
2-5 200, 000
6-10 500, 000
11-15 1, 000, 000
3 The minimum annual expenditures required under this section
4 shall consist of expenditures for operations, facilities, and
5 equipment as required or utilized for the evaluation of the
6 block for which the development license is issued. Such ex-
7 penditures in any year in excess of the required minimum
8 may be credited to requirements for later years.
9 (b) Records. — Each recipient of a license under this
10 Act shall keep such records as the Secretary shall prescribe,
11 including records which fully disclose the expenditures for
12 development required by this section, and such other records
13 as will facilitate an effective audit of such expenditures.
14 (c) Audits. — The Secretary and 'the Comptroller Gen-
15 eral of the United States, or any of their duly authorized
1 6 representatives, shall have access for the purpose of audit and
17 examination to any books, documents, papers, and records of
1 8 the licensees that are pertinent to the expenditures required
1 9 under this section.
20 AUTHORIZATION TO BEGIN COMMERCIAL RECOVERY
21 Sec. 9. Upon completion of its exploration activities at
22 any licensed block, the licensee shall so notify the Secretary
1 and request from the Secretary an authorization to begin
2 commercial recovery. Upon receipt of such request, and sub-
3 ject to the provisions of section 12, the Secretary shall grant
4 such authorization : Provided, That the licensee is in compli-
5 ance with all conditions of the license and has furnished the
6 Secretary with copies of all raw data generated in the normal
7 course of the applicant's work on the block and relating di-
8 rectly to the documentation of the nature, shape, concentra-
9 tion, and tenor of the ore deposit of the licensed block and
10 the nature of the physical environmental factors which will
11 affect such commercial recovery.
12 AREAS WITHDRAWN FROM LICENSING; DENSITY
14 Sec. 10. (a) No license shall be issued under this Act
15 for any portion of the deep seabed —
16 (1) which has been relinquished by the applicant
17 under a license issued under this Act within the prior
18 three years ;
19 (2) which is subject either to a prior application for
20 a license, or an outstanding license, under this Act, or
21 from a reciprocating State ; and
22 (3) which, if licensed, would result in a holding by
23 licensees under this Act of more than 30 per centum of
24 an area of the deep seabed which is within a circle with
1 a diameter of one thousand two hundred and fifty
3 (b) No license shall be issued or transferred under this
4 Act, and no person subject to the jurisdiction of the United
5 States shall have a substantial interest in a license issued
6 under this Act, which would result in any person directly or
7 indirectly holding, controlling, or having a substantial interest
8 in licenses for development of any portion of the deep sea-
9 bed which that person could not hold directly under this Act
10 in accordance with the limitations of this section.
11 RELINQUISHMENT OF LICENSED AREAS
12 Sec. 11. Within fifteen years of the license date for
13 any block, and not later than the grant of authorization to
14 exploit as provided for in section 9 hereof, the licensee shall,
15 by written notice to the Secretary, relinquish 75 per centum
16 of such block measured laterally. The relinquishment shall be
17 such that the unrelinquished area or areas shall conform
18 to the shape of a block as defined in section 3 hereof. The
19 licensee shall select the area of the block to be relinquished
20 and as many as four contiguous blocks of the same type held
21 by the licensee may be treated as a single unit for selecting
22 the area to be relinquished.
23 INTERNATIONAL REGIME
24 Sec. 12. At such time as an international agreement,
25 providing for the establishment of an international regime
1 for the development of the hard mineral resources of the
2 deep seabed, shall become binding upon the United States,
3 no additional licenses shall be issued pursuant to this Act, and
4 licenses previously issued under this Act shall be made sub-
5 ject to the provisions of that agreement. To the extent that
6 they are consistent with the provisions of the international
7 regime, licenses previously issued shall continue in effect, and,
8 to the extent possible under the international agreement, the
9 United States shall exercise its rights and responsibilities
10 under the agreement to insure their continuation under the
11 international regime.
12 INVESTMENT GUARANTY-
IS Sec. 13. To the extent that an international agreement,
14 binding upon the United States, shall differ from the require-
15 ments of this Act, the United States shall provide the licensee
16 with compensation in an effectively realizable form represent-
17 ing the reduction in value of the investment resulting from
18 the differing requirements: Provided, That the liability for
19 compensation shall, until after an authorization tor com-
20 mercial recovery has been granted, be limited to compensa-
21 tion in relation to equipment and facilities utilized tor explo-
22 ration purposes: Provided further, That the Secretary of
23 Commerce shall determine in the first instance the amount
24 owing on the claims for compensation under this section:
25 Provided further, That after an authorization for commercial
1 recovery has been granted, the value of the investment shall
2 be determined by subtracting from the value of the original
3 investment any gross profits realized from development and
4 processing operations : And provided further, That the liabil-
5 ity under this section shall terminate ten years after commer-
6 cial recovery has begun.
7 INVESTMENT INSURANCE
8 Sec. 14. (a) On annual payment by any licensee of a
9 premium to be determined by the Secretary of Commerce,
10 utilizing standard insurance practices and based upon the
11 relative risks involved, the United States shall insure the
12 licensee, in an amount not exceeding the value of the invest-
13 ment, for any damages suffered through the impairment of
14 the insured investment, or through the removal of hard
15 minerals from the licensed block, by any other person against
16 whom a legal remedy either does not exist or is unavailable
17 in any legal forum to which the licensee has access. The
IS Secretary of Commerce shall determine the amount owing on
19 any claim for reimbursement imder this section.
20 (b) Insurance under this section shall be available solely
21 upon the request of the licensee and after the Secretary of
22 Commerce has determined that the insurance coverage re-
23 quested is not readily available at a reasonable premium
1 INVESTMENT GUARANTY AND INSURANCE FUND
2 Sec. 15. There shall be established in the Treasury of
3 the United States a Guaranty and Insurance Fund, which
4 shall have separate accounts to be known as the Guaranty
5 Eeserve and the Insurance Reserve, which reserves shall be
6 available for discharge of liabilities, as provided in sections
7 13 and 14 of this Act, until such time as all such liabilities
8 have been discharged or have expired or until all such
9 reserves shall have been expended in accordance with the
10 provisions of this section. The Insurance Reserve shall be
11 funded by the premiums received from licensees, as provided
12 in section 14 of this Act, and the Guaranty Reserve shall be
13 funded by such sums as shall be appropriated pursuant to
14 section 22 of this Act.
15 NONDISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT
16 Sec. 16. For purposes of export controls, section 27 of
17 the Act of June 5, 1920, customs laws, and tax laws of
18 the United States, and the applicable implementing regu-
19 lations thereof, all hard minerals recovered from the deep
20 seabed under a license issued pursuant to this Act shall
21 be deemed to have been recovered within the United States,
— and such laws, regulations, and controls shall be admin-
-•' istered so that there will be no discrimination between
1 hard minerals recovered from the deep seabed and similar
2 hard minerals recovered within the United States.
4 Sec. 17. (a) In any case of agreement between United
5 States and foreign entities, with the resulting combination
6 of interests receiving a development license under the au-
7 thority of this Act, the applicability of sections 13, 14, and
8 16, of this Act shall be limited to the proportion of interest
9 owned by the United States entity or entities.
10 (b) In the case of an agreement between United States
11 and foreign entities with the resulting combination of in-
12 terests receiving a development license from a reciprocating
13 State, the provisions of section 16 of this Act, other than
1-1 the applicability of section 27 of the Act of June 5, 1920,
15 shall be applied as if the proportion of interest owned by
16 the United States entity or entities were licensed pursuant
17 to this Act.
IB REGULATORY AUTHORITY
19 Sec. 18. (a) The Secretary is authorized to issue such
20 reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary to
21 carry out the provisions of this Act, other than the provisions
22 of sections 13, 14, and 15.
23 (b) The rules and regulations issued under subsection
24 ( ;1 ) shall include provisions covering:
1 ( 1 ) eligibility standards and compliance ;
2 (2) licensing procedures, requirements, and coni-
3 pliance ;
4 (3) 'work requirements compliance;
5 (4) environmental standards and compliance;
6 (5) multiple use standards and compliance; and
7 (6) other matters specifically delegated to the
8 Secretary under the Act.
9 (c) The Secretary of Commerce is authorized to issue
10 such reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary to
11 implement the provisions of sections 13, 14, and 15 of this
13 (d) Rules and regulations issued under this section
14 shall be promulgated in accordance with provisions of sec-
la tion 553 of title 5, United States Code.
16 JURISDICTION OV UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS
17 Sec. 19. United States district courts shall have prig-
1N inal jurisdiction of cases and controversies arising out of,
19 or in connection with, development activities conducted in
20 any area of the deep seabed under the authority of this Act,
21 and proceedings with respect to any such case or controversy
22 may be instituted in the judicial district in which any de-
23 fendant resides, <>r may be tumid, or in the judicial district
-i nearest the place where the cause of action arose.
2 Sec. 20. (a) Civil Penalties.— Any person subject
3 to the jurisdiction of the United States who violates any
4 provision of this Act, or any rule or regulation issued pur-
5 suant to section 18 hereof, shall be liable to a civil pen-
G alty of $10,000 for each day during which the violation
7 continues. The penalty shall be assessed by the Secretary,
8 who in determining the amount of the penalty, shall consider
9 the gravity of the violation, any prior violation, and the
10 demonstrated good faith of the person charged in attempting
11 to achieve rapid compliance after notification of the viola-
12 tion. No penalty may be assessed until the person charged
13 shall have been given notice of the violation involved, and
14 an opportunity for a hearing. For good cause shown, the
15 Secretary may remit or mitigate any penalty assessed. Upon
16 failure of the person charged to pay an assessed penalty, the
17 Secretary may request the Attorney General to commence an
18 action in the appropriate district court of the United States
19 for collection of the penalty without regard to the amount
20 involved, together with such other relief as may be
22 (b) Criminal Penalties. — In addition to any other
23 penalty, any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United
24 States who willfully and knowingly violates any provision of
25 this Act, or any rule or regulation issued pursuant to section
1 18 hereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than
2 $25,000 for each day during which such violation continues.
3 (c) Liability of Vessels.— Any vessel, except a
4 public vessel engaged in noncommercial activities, used in a
5 violation of this Act, or of any rule or regulation issued pur-
G suant to section 18 hereof, shall be liable in rem for any civil
7 penalty assessed or criminal fine imposed and may be pro-
8 ceeded against in any district court of the United States
9 having jurisdiction thereof; but, no vessel shall be liable un-
10 less it shall appear that one or more of the owners, or bare-
11 boat charterers was, at the time of the violation, a consenting
12 party, or privy to such violation.
13 ANNUAL REPORT
14 Sec. 21. The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary
15 of the Interior shall each report to the Congress annually,
16 on or before June 30, with the first report to be made on or
17 before June 30, 1975, on his activities under this Act, in-
18 eluding recommendations for additional legislation as deemed
20 AUTHORIZATION FOR APPROPRIATIONS
21 Sec. 22. (a) There are authorized to be appropriated
22 for the current fiscal year and for each of the two succeeding
23 fiscal years, such sums as may be necessary for the admin-
24 istration of this Act.
1 (b) There are authorized to be appropriated to the
2 Secretary of Commerce, to remain available until expended,
3 such sums as may be necessary from time to time to replenish
4 or increase the Guarantee Eeserve of the Insurance and
5 Guaranty Fund, or to discharge the liabilities under section
6 13 of this Act.
7 EFFECTIVE DATE; SEPARABILITY
8 Sec. 23. This Act shall take effect on the date of its
9 enactment. If any provision of this Act or any application
10 thereof is held invalid, the validity of the remainder of the
11 Act, or of any other application, shall not be affected
Deepsea Ventures, Inc. : Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive
Mining Rights, and Request for Diplomatic Protection and Protec-
tion of Investment
Deepsea Ventures, Inc. : Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining
Rights, and Request for Diplomatic Protection and Protection of
[Filed, November 15, 1974]
November 14, 1974.
Hon. Henry A. Kissinger,
Secretary of State,
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.
NOTICE OF DISCOVERY AND CLAIM OF EXCLUSIVE MINING RIGHTS, AND REQUEST FOR
DIPLOMATIC PROTECTION AND PROTECTION OF INVESTMENT, BY DEEPSEA VENTURES, INC.
My Dear Mr. Secretary: Deepsea Ventures, Inc., a Delaware corporation
having its principal place of business in the County of Gloucester, The Common-
wealth of Virginia, U.S.A., respectfully makes of record, by filing with your
office this Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights and Re-
quest for Diplomatic Protection and Protection of Investment, by Deepsea
Ventures, Inc. (hereinafter "Claim"), as authorized by its Board of Directors
by resolution dated 30 October 1974, a certified copy of which is annexed hereto
as Exhibit A [not reproduced].
Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights
Deepsea Ventures, Inc., (hereinafter "Deepsea"), hereby gives public notice
that it has discovered and taken possession of, and is now engaged in develop-
ing and evaluating, as the first stages of mining, a deposit of seabed man-
ganese nodules (hereinafter "Deposit"). The Deposit, illustrated by the sketch
annexed as Exhibit B, is encompassed by, and extends to, lines drawn between
the coordinates numbered in series below, as follows : [I.L.M. page 57]
From: (1) Latitude 15°44' N., Longitude 124°20' W. A line drawn West
to: (2) Latitude 15°44' N., Longitude 127°46' W. And thence South to:
(3) Latitude 14°16' N., Longitude 127°46' W. And thence East to: (4)
Latitude 14°16' N., Longitude 124°20' W. and thence North to the point
These lines include approximately 60,000 square kilometers for purposes of
development and evaluation of the Deposit encompassed therein, which area
will be reduced by Deepsea to 30,000 square kilometers upon expiration of a
term of 15 years (absent force majeure) from the date of this notice or upon
commencement (absent force majeure) of commercial production from the De-
posit, whichever event occurs first. The Deposit lies on the abyssal ocean floor
in water depths ranging between 2,300 to 5,000 meters and is more than 1000
kilometers from the nearest island, and more than 1300 kilometers seaward
of the outer edge of the nearest continental margin. It is beyond the limits of
seabed jurisdiction presently claimed by any State. The overlying waters are, of
course, high seas.
The general area of the Deposit was identified in August of 1964 by the
predecessor in interest of Deepsea, and the Deposit was discovered by Deep-
sea on August 31, 1969.
1 Reproduction from the text provided to International Legal Materials by Deepsea Ven-
tures. Inc. The Notice wis filed In the office of the U.S. Secretary of State on Nov. 15, 1974.
An original was also filed and recorded ns : (1) Deed Poll No. 1659 In the Offlre of the
Clerk of the Circuit Court of C.louce-ter County. Virginia on Nov. 15. 1074 : and (2) Deed
Poll No. 02421 In the Office of the Recorder of New Castle County. Delaware on Nov. 22,
1974. Conies wore also sent to the addressees listed in Exhibit E at TDM. pape 63.
As of Jan. 15. 1975. there had been two responses to the notice: (1) a U.S. Department
of Stite statement made available in response to press inquiries, and (2) a response from
the Embassy of Canada at Washington. D.C. These appear respectively at T.UM. papes 60
and 67. As "other responses become available. T.LM. will attempt to carry the text.
The Opinion of the Law Offices of Northcutt Ely on "International Law Applicable to
Deepsea Minlnr." submitted to Deepsea Ventures. Inc.. on Nov. 14, 1974, is available at
the Library of the American Society of International Law.
65-675 O - 76 - 12
Further exploration, evaluation, engineering development and processing re-
search have been carried out to enable the recovery of the specific manganese
nodules of the Deposit and the production of products and byproducts therefrom.
The work done, and in progress, is summarized in the annexed affidavits, Ex-
hibits C and D. [I.L.M. pages 58 and 61.]
Deepsea, or its successor in interest, will commence commercial production
from the Deposit within 15 years (absent force majeure) from the date of this
Claim, and will conclude production therefrom within a period (absent force
majeure) of 40 years from the date of commencement of commercial production
whereupon the right shall cease.
Deepsea has been advised by Counsel, whose names appear at the end hereof,
that it has validly established the exclusive rights asserted in this Claim under
existing international law as evidenced by the practice of States, the 1958
Convention on the High Seas, and general rules of law recognized by civilized
Deepsea asserts the exclusive rights to develop, evaluate and mine the De-
posit and to take, use, and sell all of the manganese nodules in, and the minerals
and metals derived, therefrom. It is proceeding with appropriate diligence to do
so, and requests and requires States, persons, and all other commercial or po-
litical entities to respect the exclusive rights asserted herein. Deepsea does not
assert, or ask the United States of America to assert, a territorial claim to the
seabed or subsoil underlying the Deposit. Use of the overlying water column, as
a freedom of the high seas, will be made to the extent necessary to recover and
transport the manganese nodules of the Deposit.
Disturbance of the seabed and subsoil underlying the Deposit will be tem-
porary and will be restricted to that unavoidably occasioned by recovery of the
manganese nodules of the Deposit. To facilitate the United States of America's
domestic policies and programs of environmental protection, Deepsea will pro-
vide, at no cost, reasonable space for U.S. Government representatives of the
United States of America on vessels utilized by Deepsea in the development and
evaluation of the Deposit. Deepsea does not intend to process at sea the man-
ganese nodules from the Deposit.
It is Deepsea's intention, by filing this Claim in your office and in appropriate
State recording offices, to publish this Claim and provide notice and proof of the
priority of the right of Deepsea to the Deposit, and its title thereto.
A true copy of this Claim is being filed for recordation in the office of the Sec-
retary of State of the State of Delaware, U.S.A., the State wherein Deepsea is
incorporated, and on 15 November 1974 in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit
Court of Gloucester County, Virginia, U.S.A., the county and Commonwealth
of Deepsea's principal place of business. Copies of this claim are also being pro-
vided to others, as specified in the annexed Exhibit E. [I.L.M. page 63.]
We ask that this Claim, and all of the annexed Exhibits, be made available
by your office for public examination.
Request for Diplomatic Protection and Protection of Integrity of Investment
Deepsea respectfully requests the diplomatic protection of the United States
Government with respect to the exclusive mining rights described and asserted
in the foregoing Claim, and any other rights which may hereafter accrue to
Deepsea as a result of its activities at the site of the Deposit, and similar pro-
tection of the integrity of its investments heretofore made and now being under-
taken, and to be undertaken in the future.
This request is made prior to any known interference with the rights now being
asserted, and prior to any known impairment of Deepsea's investment. It is
intended to give the Department immediate notice of Deepsea's Claim for the pur-
pose of facilitating the protection of Deepsea's rights and investments should
this be required as a consequence of any future actions of the United States Gov-
ernment or other States, persons, or organizations.
The protection requested accords with the assurances given on behalf of the Ex-
ecutive Department to the Congress of the United States, including those by
Ambassador John R. Stevenson, by Honorable Charles N. Brower, and by Honor-
able John Norton Moore, as follows :
"The Department does not anticipate any efforts to discourage U.S. nationals
from continuing with their current exploration plans. In the event that U.S.
nationals should desire to engage in commercial exploitation prior to the estab-
lishment of an internationally agreed regime, we would seek to assure that
their activities are conducted in accordance with relevant principles of inter-
national law, including the freedom of the seas and that the integrity of their
investment receives due protection in any subsequent international agreement."
Letter of January 16, 1970, from John R. Stevenson, Legal Advisor, Department
of State, to Lee Metcalf, Chairman, Special Subcommittee on the Outer Con-
tinental Shelf, U.S. Senate, reproduced in Hearings before the Special Senate
Subcommittee on the Outer Continental Shelf, 91st Cong., 1st and 2d Sess. at
"At the present time, under international law and the High Seas Conven-
tion, it is open to anyone who has the capacity to engage in mining of the
deep seabed subject to the proper exercise of high seas rights of other countries
involved." Statement of Charles N. Brower, Hearings before the House Sub-
committee on Oceanography of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fish-
eries, 93d Cong., 1st Sess., at 50 (1974).
"It is certainly the position of the United States that the mining of the deep
seabed is a high seas freedom and I think that would be a freedom today under
international law. And our position has been that companies are free to engage
in this kind of mining beyond the 200-meter mark subject to the international
regime to be agreed upon, and of course, assured protection of the integrity of
investment in that period." Statement of John Norton Moore, Hearings before
the Senate Subcommitee on Minerals, Materials and Fuels, 93d Cong., 1st
Sess., at 247 (1973).
The language of these extracts, and other statements similar to them made
by these and other responsible officers of the Executive Branch is consistent
with the Executive's continuing practice as reflected in a paragraph in President
Taft's Message to the Congress of December 7, 1909, where he said :
"The Department of State, in view of proofs filed with it in 1906, showing
American possession, occupation and working of certain coal-bearing lands in
Spitzbergen [Spitzbergen was at that time recognized as being not subject to
the territorial sovereignty of any State] accepted the invitation under the
reservation above stated [i.e., the questions of altering the status of the islands
as countries belonging to no particular State and as equally open to the citizens
and subjects of all States, should not be raised] and under the further reserva-
tion that all interests in those islands already vested should be protected and
that there should be equality of opportunity for the future." Annual Message of
the President to Congress, 7 December 1909,  For. Rels. of the U.S. IX
at XIII (1914).
Deepsea has used its best efforts to ascertain that there are no pipelines,
cables, military installations, or other activities constituting an exercise of
freedom of the high seas in the area encompassing the Deposit or in the super-
jacent waters, with which Deepsea's operations might conflict. So far as is
known, no claim of rights has been made by any State or person with respect
to said Deposit or any other mineral resources in the area encompassing the
Deposit and no State or person has established effective occupation of said
Initially, approximately 1.35 million wet metric tons of nodules will be
recovered by Deepsea from the Deposit per year. In accord with market condi-
tions, this may later be expanded to as much as 4 million wet metric tons per
year recovered. Deepsea's processing and refining technology, successfully dem-
onstrated in its pilot plant, will recover copper, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and
other products, depending: on the market situation and competitive conditions.
The recovered weight of the major four metals that the initial 1.3." million wet
metric tons of nodules will yield per year will be approximately as shown in
Column A below. Column B gives some indication of the dependency of the
United States of America upon imports for these four metals.
The importance of these minerals to the economy of the United States does
not require elaboration. It has been effectively expressed to the Congress by
the Executive Branch.
For your information, the capital stock of Deepsea is at present wholly owned
by nationals of the United States. Ninety per cent thereof is owned by Tenneco
Corporation, a Delaware corporation, and the other ten percent is owned by
individuals, all of whom are United States citizens. At this date stock options
are outstanding which, if all are exercised, will result in acquisition of the follow-
ing percentages of ownership of Deepsea's capital stock by others:
23.75 percent : Essex Iron Company, a New Jersey corporation, a wholly owned
subsidiary of United States Steel Corporation, a Delaware corporation.
23.75 percent : Union Mines Inc., a Maryland corporation, a wholly owned sub-
sidiary of Union Miniere, S.A., a Belgian corporation.
23.75 percent: Japan Manganese Nodule Development Co., Ltd., a Japanese
Deepsea Ventubes, Inc."
3 The Notice was signed by John E. Fllpse. President, and Northcutt Ely, L. F. B.
Goldie, and R. J. Greenwald, as Counsel. The signature of the President was duly
r . ■*■*#/. I • ' •" :
t ////y//-^/7.S' n
*j .-. •• / /" ' ' • r •' I' I > .
30-. , J_ ./— ' r / . - - ^ J — »
Horth Pjtit* Otcj/i-IaiVm Pjit
District of Columbia, 88:
John E. Flipse, being duly sworn, deposes that :
1. He resides at the Cove, Gloucester, Virginia, U.S.A., and that he is a citi-
zen of the United States of America, and that he is 53 years of age.
2. He was, from September 1957 to October 1968, employed by the Newport
News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, a Delaware Corporation having its
principal place of business in Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.
3. From 1962 to October 1968, he was responsible for and directed the activ-
ities of the Research Division of Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock
Company and specifically the program of investigating the technical and eco-
nomic feasibility of deep ocean manganese nodule mining as conducted by that
Company, during which time he served in the capacity of Director of Research
and Assistant to the President (among other responsibilities) with continuous
control over said ocean mining program and was responsible for planning, oper-
ations, budgeting and obtaining corporate support during the conduct of said
4. He prepared the documentation and directed the transfer of the interest of
Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company to Deepsea Ventures, Inc.,
a Delaware Corporation, having its principal place of business in Gloucester
County, Virginia, U.S.A., in September of 1968, during which month both com-
panies became subsidiaries of Tenneco, Inc., a Delaware Corporation having its
principal place of business in Houston, Texas, U.S.A. The assets of said ocean
mining program including, but not limited to, the Research Vessel PROSPEC-
TOR, the trip reports, engineering reports, designs, notebooks, files and rights to
the patents developed prior to said transfer date, were transferred from New-
port News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company to Deepsea Ventures, Inc., along
with certain personnel knowledgeable in the technical and business aspects of
5. From October 7, 1968, until this date, he has served as President of Deepsea
Ventures, Inc., and directed the continuation and expansion of the transferred
program to prove the technical and economic feasibility of deep ocean mining,
said program including the prospecting and exploration of the deep ocean floor of
the Pacific Ocean, the development and testing of components and mining sys-
tems, and the development and testing of processes for winning the metals from
manganese nodules, and he directed the preparation of summary resources data,
engineering reports, filing of patent applications, and the economic analysis of a
proposed commercial deep ocean mining system.
6. As a result of the foregoing activities, attention was concentrated in the
California Seamount area of the Clarion Fracture Zone of the Baja California
Oceanographic Province, identified during cruises of R/V PROSPECTOR (owned
by Deepsea's predecessor in interest) during August 1964 and April/May 1965.
Further cruises based thereon resulted, on August 31, 1969, at 1820 local time,
in recovery of a particularly significant grab sample of nodules from a station
at 15°28' N. Latitude 125°00.5' W. Longitude. Survey activity on this cruise con-
tinued as far south as 15°12.5' N., 125°02' W.
7. Since August 31, 1969, further surveys during 16 cruises, of three to four
weeks duration each, have further defined the extent of the deposit discovered on
that date. These activities included the taking of some 294 discrete samples, in-
cluding the bulk dredging of some 164 tons of manganese nodules from some 263
dredge stations, 28 core stations and three grab sample stations, cutting of some
28 cores, approximately 1,000 lineal miles of survey of sea floor recorded by tele-
vision and still photography, etc. As a result, the deposit of nodules (hereinafter
"Deposit") identified with the discovery has been proved to extend generally
throughout the entire area encompassed by lines drawn as follows :
From : (1) Latitude 15°44' N., Longitude 124°20' W. A line drawn West to :
(2) Latitude 15°44' N., Longitude 127°46' W. And thence South to : (3) Lati-
tude 14°16' N., Longitude 127°46' W. and thence East to: (4) Latitude 14°
16' N., Longitude 124°20' W. And thence North to the point of origin includ-
ing approximately 60,000 square kilometers, lying on the seabed of the abys-
sal ocean, in water depths between 2,300 to 5,000 meters. This Deposit is
some 1,300 kilometers from the nearest continental margin, and some 1,000
kilometers from the nearest island.
8. Principal characteristics of the Deposit, based upon data acquired to date,
Average Assay, percent (dry weight) :
Nickel 1. 28
Copper 1. 07
Cobalt . 25
Iron 6. 3
Average population (percent) 30-40
Average concentration (wet) kg/meter 2 ) 9.7
9. It has been determined, after more than 10 years of exploration and survey,
at-sea equipment testing and mineral and metal processing development, that
deposits of manganese require tailoring the design of the mining and processing
systems for each specific deposit, that geographic location, sea floor topography,
sea floor sediment properties, nodule size, grade and concentration variation and
nodule chemistry are sufficiently different so as to make a mining and processing
system, which is based on one deposit, suffer important economic penalties if uti-
lized for another deposit.
10. To this end dredge heads and mining systems have been designed by
Deepsea Ventures, Inc., for the specific sediments, nodule properties, and water
depths at, over and/or under the Deposit, and process design and pilot plant
operations have been tailored to the nodules of grade and chemical composition
of the manganese nodules in the Deposit. The cost to date of prospecting, explo-
ration, design and test efforts required to identify and evaluate the potential of
the Deposit has been approximately U.S. $20,000,000. Further exploration, eval-
uation, and development of the Deposit and associated facilities will consume
some three years and cost between U.S. $22,000,000 and U.S. $30,000,000. Such
further exploration, evaluation and development of the Deposit commenced on
1 November 1974.
11. Deepsea intends to commence commercial production of the Deposit within
15 years at an initial rate of approximately 1.35 million wet metric tons of man-
ganese nodules per year, which rate may be expanded according to market con-
ditions to as much as 4 million wet metric tons per year. The Company intends to
process said nodules at a land-based processing plant which will yield as the
products thereof copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese and other products.
(signed by) John E. Flipse, 1
President, Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
Commonwealth of Virginia, U.S.A.,
County of Gloucester, ss:
Raymond Kaufman, being duly sworn, deposes that :
1. He resides at 112 Cove Road, Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.A., and that he
is a citizen of the United States of America, and that he is 48 years of age.
2. From December 1968 to 15 November 1974, he served as Vice President Tech-
nical to Deepsea Ventures, Inc., a Delaware Corporation having its principal
place of business in Gloucester County, Virginia, U.S.A.
3. During this period he directed the technical activities of Deepsea Ventures,
Inc., associated with ocean mineral deposit prospecting and surveying, mining
equipment development and mineral processing development.
4. Commencing November 1, 1974, he has directed and will direct a technical
program of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., to develop and evaluate a potential Pacific
Ocean manganese nodule deposit described in the affidavit of Mr. John E. Flipse,
dated November 15, 1974 (hereinafter "Deposit"), which will take and use from
1.35 to 4 million wet metric tons of manganese nodules per year for a 40-year
period. This development and evaluation program will be accomplished in three
principal phases :
PHASE I — DEPOSIT EVALUATION
The objective of this Phase is to confirm that the Deposit contains sufficient
ore reserves in a favorable oceanographic environment to support the mining
and processing operation for a period of 40 years. Phase I is being conducted
over an approximate three-year period and will require 15 to 30 course grid
survey cruises by the Company's R/V PROSPECTOR to acquire the data re-
quired to assess the economic potential of the Deposit. The acquisition of bulk
samples from the Deposit will be achieved as a product of a pilot-scale mining
ship/system test to be conducted on the Deposit. The estimated expenditure on
activities directly related to, or at the site of. the Deposit during Phase I will be
approximately U.S. $22,000,000 to U.S. $30,000,000. Subsequent evaluations of
the Deposit will be conducted to define technical details necessary for mining.
1 The signature was duly notarized.
PHASE II — INITIAL MINE DEVELOPMENT
The objective of this Phase (which may commence during Phase I above)
is to develop a detailed plan to mine the Deposit effectively. This will require
a comprehensive fine grid survey effort to map the sea floor, to provide topo-
graphical maps with a contour interval approaching one to ten meters, to locate
obstructions and to determine ore distribution, concentration and assay varia-
tions for use in developing an effective mining plan for the Deposit. The work
will be accomplished over a three-year period during which time data will be
acquired, reduced, analyzed and evaluated. Due to the very large areas involved,
the detailed fine grid survey of the entire Deposit will be completed in Phase III
(below). The survey and analysis work in Phase II will be conducted over an
area sufficient to provide ore for about three years mining at rates of 1.35 mil-
lion wet metric tons of manganese nodules per year. The anticipated expendi-
ture at the site of the Deposit is U.S. $10,000,000 to U.S. $15,000,000 during the
first three years of Phase II.
PHASE HI INCREMENTAL MINE DEVELOPMENT/RECONNAISSANCE SURVEYS DURING
The principal objective of this Phase is to continue the fine grid mining plan
development, while concurrently mining successive tracts of a size blocked out as
described in connection with Phase II. Mapping will proceed at a rate needed to
provide mining data for at least one year's activity about three years in advance
of the actual mining. In addition, a secondary objective of this Phase is to conduct
broad area reconnaissance and prospecting surveys aimed at discovering addi-
tional ore bodies for future growth and expansion. This work will be undertaken
as a continuing activity over the whole period of exploitation and production.
5. The survey and mine site development and evaluation program is one
segment of an ocean mining technical development project which also includes
the development of the mining, transportation and support, and ore processing
segments. The technical and economic development of these elements is critically
related to the properties of the specific deposit regarding sea floor engineering
parameters, terrain, water depth, nodule character, distribution and assay,
geographic location and chemical composition. The Phase I and Phase II expendi-
tures previously referred to, do not include the costs of production mining equip-
ment, ships, terminals, or processing plants. These latter costs are currently
projected to exceed U.S. $120,000,000, and are scheduled to commence on com-
pletion of Phase I.
6. Deepsea intends to mine the Deposit at an initial rate of approximately 1.35
million wet metric tons of manganese nodules per year, which rate may be
expanded to as much as 4 million wet metric tons per year. The Company intends
to process said nodules at a land-based processing plant which will yield as the
products thereof copper, nickel, cobalt and manganese and other products.
(Signed by) Raymond Kaufman, 1
Vice President, Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
True copies of the "Notice of Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights
and Request for Diplomatic Protection and Protection of Investment, by Deepsea
Ventures, Inc.", dated 14 November 1974, to which this notice list is appended as
Exhibit E, shall be mailed by certified or registered airmail, return receipt
requested, postage and certification or registration fee prepaid, by Deepsea
Ventures, Inc. to each addressee listed in this Exhibit E. In addition, legal notice
shall be published in as many of the following locations as is possible and prac-
ticable : Washington, D.C., U.S.A. ; London, United Kingdom ; Bonn, Germany ;
Paris, France; Moscow, U.S.S.R. ; Tokyo, Japan; Ottawa, Canada: Brussels,
Belgium ; Caracas, Venezuela ; Monrovia, Liberia ; Singapore : New Delhi, India ;
Canberra, Australia ; Tai Pei, Taiwan ; Gloucester Point, Virginia and Wilming-
1 The signature was duly notarized.
The Honorable Frederick B. Dent, Secretary of Commerce, Department of Com-
merce, Fourteenth Street between Constitution Avenue and E Street, NW.,
Washington, D.C. 20230.
The Honorable James R. Sch^singer, Secretary of Defense, Department of De-
fense, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20301.
The Honorable Rogers C. B. Morton, Secretary of Interior, Department of In-
terior, C Street between 18th and 19th Streets, NW., Washington, D.C. 20240
The Honorable William E. Simon, Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the
Treasury, Fifteenth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, D.C.
The Honorable Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to The President for National Se-
curity Affairs, National Security Council, Executive Office Building, Washing-
ton, D.C. 20506.
The Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, c/o Senator Henry M.
Jackson, Chairman, Room 137, Old Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
The Senate Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, Subcommittee on Minerals,
Materials, and Fuels, c/o Senator Lee Metcalf, Chairman, Room 427, Old Senate
Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510.
The House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, c/o Representative
Leonor K. Sullivan, Chairman, Room 2221, Rayburn House Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20515.
The House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on
Oceanography, c/o Representative Thomas N. Downing, Chairman, Room 2135,
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20151.
The Honorable H. Guyford Stever, Director, National Science Foundation, 1800
G Street NW., Washington, D.C. 20550.
The Honorable Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations, the
United Nations, New York 10017.
Dr. Maurice Rattray, Head, Department of Oceanography, University of Wash-
ington, Seattle, Wash. 98195.
Dr. John P. Craven, Dean of Marine Programs, University of Hawaii, Honolulu,
Dr. W. A. Nierenberg, Dean and Director, Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
P.O. Box 109, La Jolla, Calif. 92037.
Mr. Manik Talwani (Interim Director), Department of Geology, Lamont Doherty
Geological Observatory, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 10027.
Dr. Paul M. Fye, President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,
Woods Hole, Mass. 02543.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Australia, 1601 Massachusetts Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20036.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Belgium, 3330 Garfield Street, Washington,
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Bulgaria, 2100 Sixteenth Street, Washing-
ton, D.C. 20009.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Canada, 1746 Massachusetts Avenue, Wash-
ington, D.C. 20036.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Czechoslovakia, 3900 Linnean Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20008.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of France, 2535 Belmont Road, Washington,
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Federal Republic of Germany, 4645 Reser-
voir Road, Washington, D.C. 20007.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Great Britain, 3100 Massachusetts Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20008.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Hungary, 2437 15th Street, Washington,
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Japan, 2520 Massachusetts Avenue, Wash-
ineton. D.C. 20008.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Poland, 2640 16th Street, Washington, D.C.
Office of the Ambassador, Embassy of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1125
16th Street, Washington, D.C. 20036.
Tenneco Ocean Metals Development Corp., c/o Tenneco Corp., P.O. Box 2511,
Houston, Tex. 77001. Attention: Mr. S. Askin, President.
Japan Manganese Nodule Development Co., Ltd., c/o Nichimen Co., Ltd., Nat-
ural Resources Development Division, 11-1, Nibhonbashi, 3-chome, Chuo-ku,
Tokyo, Japan 103. Attention : Mr. S. Hiraoka, Executive Vice President (JAM).
Japan Cotton Co. (Nichimen Co., Ltd.), P.O. Box 1247, Dallas Tex. 75221. Atten-
ton : Mr. H. Nakahara, President.
C. Itoh & Co., Ltd., Mineral Resources Development Department, 4, 2-chome, Hon-
cho, Nibonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Kanematsu-Gosho, Ltd., Non-Ferrous Metals Department, 5, Takara-cho 2-chome,
Chuo-ku Tokyo, Japan.
Union Mines, Inc., c/o Union Miniere, Department Investissements, Rue de la
Chancellerie 1, B-1000, Brussels, Belgium.
E. H. Tuck, Esq., Sherman & Sterling, 53 Wall Street, New York, N.Y. 10005.
Essex Iron Co., Room 2786, 600 Grant Street Pittsburgh, Pa. 15230. Attention
Mr. Phillips Hawkins, President.
Amax, Inc., 1270 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020. Attention Mr
D. J. Donahue, President.
American Smelting & Refining Co., 120 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10005. Atten-
tion Mr. R. L. Hennebach, President.
Arbeitsgembinschaft Meerestechnisch Gewinnbare Rohstof, D-300 Hannover 1,
Postfach 4827, Arnstrasse 1, Federal Republic of Germany.
The Broken Hill Proprietary Corp., Ltd., Central Research Laboratories, short-
land, N.S.W. 2307, Australia. Attention: Dr. J. B. Lean, Research Manager.
Cnexo (Centre National Pour L'Exploration des Oceans), Centre Oceanologique
de Bretagne, B.P. 337, Brest 29N., France. Attention: Mr. Charles Christian
Consolidated Gold Fields Ltd., 49 Moorgate, London EC2R 6BQ, England. At-
tention : Mr. J. D. McCall, Chairman.
Demag AG, 41 Duisburg, Wolfgang-Reuter-Platz, Federal Republic of Germany,
Attention : Dr. H. G. Sohl, Chairman.
Deep Ocean Mining Association, c/o Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., 5-11-3,
Shinbashi, Minatoku, Tokyo, 105, Japan. Attention: Mr. Kenjiro Kawakami,
Deep Ocean Mining Association, c/o Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., 5-11-3,
Shinbashi, Minatoku, Tokyo, 105, Japan. Attention: Mr. Sho Takano,
Dome Mines, Ltd., 360 Ray St., Suite 702, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Attention :
Mr. J. B. Redpath, President.
Ethyl Corp., 330 South Fourth Street, Richmond, Va. 23219. Attention : Mr. B. C.
General Crude Oil Co., Box 2252, Houston, Tex. 77001. Attention: Mr. D. E.
Global Marine, Inc., Global Marine House, 811 West Seventh Street, Los Angeles,
Calif. 90017. Attention : Mr. R. F. Bauer, Chairman of the Board.
International Nickel Co. of Canada, Ltd., Toronto-Dominion Centre, King and Bay
Streets, Ontario, Canada. Attention : Mr. J. E. Carter, President.
Kennecott Copper Corp., 161 East 42d Street, New York, N.Y. 10017. Attention :
Mr. F. R. Milliken, President.
Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. 94088, Attention : Mr.
Stanley W. Burriss, President.
Marubeni, 3-3, Hommachi, Higashiku, Osaka 541, Japan. Attention : Mr. Hiro
Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm Gmbh., 8012 Ottobrunn Bei Munchen, Federal Re-
public of Germany. Attention : Office of the Chairman.
Metallgesellschaf t Aktiengesellschaf t, D-6000 Frankfurt 1, P. O. Box 3724, Reuter-
weg 2-32, Federal Republic of Germany. Attention : M. H. Ley, Chairman.
Mitsubishi Corp., 2-6-3, Marunouchi, Chiyodaku, Tokyo 100, Japan. Attention:
Chujiro Fujino, President.
Mitsui & Co., 1-2-9, Nishi-Shinbashi, Minatoku, Tokyo 105. Attention : Mr. Yoshizo
NL Industries, Inc. (formerly National Lead), 111 Broadway, New York, N.Y.
10006. Attention : Mr. R. C. Adam, President.
Noranda Mines, Ltd., Bank of Nova Scotia Building., 44 King Street West,
Toronto 1, Canada. Attention : Mr. A. Powis, President.
Rheinische Braunkohlenwerke Aktiengesellschaft, D-5000 Koln 1, P.O. Box 10 16
66, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 55, Federal Republic of Germany. Attention : Office
of the Chairman.
Rio Tinto-Zinc Corp. Ltd., 6 St. James' Square, London SW1Y 4LD, England.
Attention : Sir J.N.V. Duncan OBE, Chairman.
Salzgitter Aktiengesellschaft, D-3320 Salzgitter 41, P.O. Box 41 11 29, Federal
Republic of Germany. Attention : Office of the Chairman.
Summa Corp., Ocean Mining Division, P.O. Box 99006, Houston, Tex. 77011.
Attention : Mr. P. G. Reeve, General Manager.
Sumitomo Ocean Development & Engineering Co., Ltd., 2-2, 1-chome, Hitosubashi,
Chiyoda-ku, Toyko, Japan. Attention : Mr. J. Tamura, Managing Director.
Sumitomo Shoji Kaisha, Ltd., 5-15, Kitahama, Higashiku, Osaka 541, Japan.
Attention : Yukio Shibayama, President.
Superior Oil Co., First City National Bank Building, Houston, Tex. 77002. At-
tention : Mr. H. B. Keck, President.
Teck Corp., Ltd., Suite 4900 (P.O. Box 49), Toronto-Dominion Centre, Toronto
1, Ontario, Canada. Attention : Mr. N. B. Keevil, President.
August Thyssen-Hutte AG, 41 Duisburg-Homborn, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse 100,
Postfach 67, Federal Republic of Germany. Attention: Dr. D. Spethmann,
Occidental Minerals Corp., 6073 West 44th Avenue, Wheat Ridge, Colo. 80033. At-
tention : Mr. P. A. Bailly, President.
Ocean Resources, Inc., P.O. Box 2244, La Jolla, Calif. 92037. Attention : Dr. John
Placer Development Ltd., 1030 West Georgia Street, Vancouver 5, B.C., Canada.
Attention : Mr. T. H. McClelland, President.
Phelps Dodge Corp., 300 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022. Attention : Mr. G.
B. Munroe, President.
Preussag Aktiengesellschaft, D-300 Hannover 1, P.O. Box 4829, Leibnizufer 9,
Federal Republic of Germany. Attention : Mr. G. Sassmannshausen, Chair-
Utah International, Inc., 550 California Street, San Francisco, Calif. 94104. At-
tention : Mr. A. M. Wilson, President.
U.S. Department of State : Statement on Claim of Exclusive Mining
Rights by Deepsea Ventures, Inc.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 05187 7511
Statement on Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights by Deepsea Ventures, Inc. 1
The Department of State received on November 15, 1974, a letter from Mr.
John E. Flipse, President of Deepsea Ventures, Inc., described as a "Notice of
Discovery and Claim of Exclusive Mining Rights and Request for Diplomatic
Protection and Protection of Investment, by Deepsea Ventures, Inc." This claim
identifies an area in the eastern Pacific Ocean that is beyond the national jurisdic-
tion of any state and asserts that Deepsea Ventures, Inc. "has discovered and
taken possession of, and is now engaged in developing and evaluating, as the
first stages of mining a deposit of seabed manganese nodules." Deepsea Ventures
asserts the exclusive rights to develop, evaluate and mine the deposit and to
take, use and sell all of the manganese nodules in, and the minerals and metals
The Department of State does not grant or recognize exclusive mining rights
to the mineral resources of an area of the seabed beyond the limits of national
The appropriate means for the development of the law of the sea is the Third
United Nations Conference on Law of the Sea and not unilateral claims. The
United States supports the achievement of a widely acceptable and comprehensive
law of the sea treaty in 1975 that would include a regime and machinery for the
exploration for and exploitation of the mineral resources of the deep seabed
beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
The position of the United States Government on deep ocean mining pend-
ing the outcome of the Law of the Sea Conference is that the mining of the
seabed beyond the limits of national jurisdiction may proceed as a freedom of the
high seas under existing international law.
1 Statement made available by the U.S. Department of State. Reproduced from tbe text
provided by the U.S. Department of State. This statement was made available following
the tiling of the Notice with the U.S. Secretary of State, as a guidance paper for response
to press inquiries.